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Houghton County Looks At Options For Paying For Jail Addition

Residents in Houghton County will not be voting on a millage to expand the county jail until next year.

The Houghton County Board of Commissioners held a special meeting Wednesday to discuss the issue, where they decided to hold off on putting a proposal on the November ballot.

To remedy the jail’s overcrowding issue, the board’s plan is to build an addition onto the current facility, adding 64 beds and three holding cells.

A drawing and budget plans will be on the county’s website soon.

The board presented two options on how to pay for the addition to the jail.

The first is for the county to raise $1 million over ten years through raising taxes.

The second option would be to take $500,000 from the millage for the Houghton County Medical Care Facility.

This option would require a public vote and the board is unsure if this can be done, according to Vice Chairman Tim Palosaari.

“Currently, the county medical care gets $2.54 million, I believe, and they could reduce their millage. It wouldn’t really effect them, they’d still have a good cash flow and I think it would help the voters,” said County Commissioner Vice Chairman Tim Palosaari. “The voters would have to come up with another $1 million. The big thing is raising taxes and I’m against it.”

The language for the ballot and actual ballot measures will be discussed at the next county board meeting on August 15th.

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