New jail proposal to go before voters in the future.

August 4, 2022

New jail proposal to go before voters in the future.

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

HART — Voters rejected a proposal for 2.25 millage increase to build a new 144-bed jail and sheriff’s office by a large margin of 3,940-2,450 in the primary election Tuesday, Aug. 2. 

Now officials are examining why it failed and what can be done to eventually present a more favorable proposal to voters.

“We have full intentions of regrouping and bringing this initiative to voters again in the future,” said Oceana County Sheriff Craig Mast. 

“This does not diminish our need, and the situation with the jail is still the same. We’re still undersized and have an old style jail that is going to continue to fail inspections because of the way it is designed.

“I think this election fell victim to the current economic status that the country and maybe the world is in. I think this millage was haunted with misinformation and people were confused on some things like the TIFA (Tax Increment Financing Authority) issue. They claim that there was a lot of extra ‘pork’ on this millage, and that was not the case.

“People assumed that everyone in the county is going to have to pay into the TIFA fund for the City of Hart, and that is not the case whatsoever. The TIFA tax only affects a few parcels — a few property owners and businesses — right along the State Street corridor. It accounts for 2.4 percent of that tax. It stays in the TIFA fund for the betterment of that district. It’s just like the Oceana County Council Aging — because they have a county-wide millage, it’s subject to the TIFA.”

Despite the obvious disappointment of the millage proposal’s failure, officials are moving forward.

“We’re going to have to work on that to see what we can do to adjust it to make it a more palatable request to the voters. That’s something we’re going to do in the next few months. 

“We’re going to ask again for the voters to support us. It’s a true need. We’re just asking for a safe, efficient, effective jail that is up to date with current correctional technology that will allow my staff to best serve the community.

“I want to thank everybody who helped us in this campaign and the supporters.” 

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