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County aims to maintain law and order in jail without funding from ballot issue
PUEBLO – After the Pueblo County Jail ballot initiative failed in the 2017 Coordinated Election, Pueblo County will take a hard look at possible other solutions to address infrastructure, liability and safety concerns in order to maintain law and order in the most overcrowded jail in the State of Colorado.
“I would like to thank the Jail Task Force for their commitment to studying this multi-faceted issue. I do know at some point we will be forced legally to deal with this. One of the largest issues we have needed to tackle in county government is and has been the county jail. I’ve done my very best to present what the Task Force felt to be the best long-term fiscally responsible option, but I ultimately work for the people and I respect their voice in this election. I will continue to do all I can to improve public safety and support the men and women that work in our detention facility every day.” Pueblo County Commissioner Garrison Ortiz said.
Pueblo County posed the question to voters after the more than 40-person Jail Task Force studied the current conditions of the jail, costs of alternatives to building a new jail, threats to deputy safety and of future costly litigation. Ultimately, the task force concluded that repurposing Pueblo County’s existing jail dormitory to become a detox and treatment center and constructing a new jail would be the best long-term solution to address the jail’s aging-infrastructure needs and overcrowding problems.
The proposed ballot measure asked for a temporary sales tax increase of just less than a half cent per dollar to invest in a new Pueblo County Detention and Treatment Center.
“A large part of my job is to analyze areas of risk and need in the county and to objectively propose solutions to my constituents. Unfortunately, the citizens didn’t agree with the analysis behind 1A but we still have an obligation to our deputies and to the general public to continue to maintain law and order in our community,” Pueblo County Commissioner Garrison Ortiz said.