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Opposition group forms against bond for a new Lincoln County jail 

Published: Sep. 25, 2020 at 11:18 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - With the significance of this year’s election, knowing what will be on your ballot on a local level is important.

That includes the fate of a new Lincoln County jail.

“I think everyone from Tea is kind of taken off guard,” said group editor Karla Lems.

A group called “VOTE NO on Lincoln County Bond for Tea Jail” is raising questions about the Bond Issue that will be voted on in this election.

Lems said, “You, I think, want to bring the citizens of Lincoln County together to make those kinds of decisions of where that should go.”

In August, the commission voted 3 to 2 to move forward with the purchase of 154 acres in Tea for about 1.4 million dollars with a closing date set for the end of September.

Betty Otten, Ballot Question Committee Treasurer, said, “The citizens of Lincoln County weren’t asked, ‘Do you want the jail and if so, where do you want it?’ We’re assuming everybody’s thinking that it’s going to be in Canton where our court house is.”

On the ballot, it asks for up to 50 million dollars for the purpose of purchasing land, building a new jail, and doing renovations and demolition to the current county court house.

Lems said, "The residents of Tea that we have heard from are not happy about this at all because it is going to drastically affect their property values.

“If you look across the street, houses and businesses and residential with families in kids and nobody in Tea knew about it. It’s going to raise your taxes big time,” Otten added.

After looking at the condensed cash flow statement showing the costs for the proposed jail, organizers said they expect to see Lincoln County property taxes rise by at least $173 million dollars.

Otten said, “With all of the COVID and people staying home, people are really struggling financially so we don’t understand why the big push for this.”

Lems said, “Go to the ‘VOTE NO’ page and get your information. We’re trying to help with that transparency issue. So, number one transparency and number two, find out how this is going to affect your taxes.”

We reached out to Lincoln County officials for a comment but did not hear back in time for broadcast.

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