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Higher taxes to pay for new jail/treatment center will be on Pueblo County's November ballot

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PUEBLO -

People in Pueblo County could soon be paying more in taxes to build a new jail and treatment center. 

On Wednesday, the Pueblo Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to put this question on the November ballot. 

Until then, they want to do all they can to educate people on this issue that they say is critical. 

"I think today marks a new chapter in the work that I've started almost immediately after I'd been elected." 

It's a win for Pueblo County Commissioner Garrison Ortiz. A ballot issue he and others have been working on for awhile is officially part of the November election. 

Ortiz said, "What was proposed today was a countywide sales and use tax increase in the increment of .45 or 9/20th of a cent on the dollar." 

This means if you spent $100 at a store you'd be paying an extra 45 cents for that purchase.

If this increase is approved by voters the tax would be in place for 30 years and all the money used to build a new jail. Commissioners say the current one is overcrowded and falling apart. 

Ortiz said, "We care about the lives of our deputies working in this facility every day. We care about the lives of the inmates." 

Commissioners say they also care about keeping the jail population down. 

Ortiz says it's why the proposal also includes repurposing the current jail into a treatment center to ensure that "we're not just putting people into jail or turning them through the local justice system. We're trying to reverse these negative trends, break the cycle of addiction, and make people well again." 

He says he wants to continue to educate people on how the proposal will "in the long run, with the treatment center, help reduce our population over decades to come." 

If you have questions about the proposal you can submit those through the Pueblo County Jail Task Force site by clicking here
 

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