Mills County LEC Bond Issue Vote Aug. 7

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By Joe Foreman, Editor

Mills County residents will be going to the polls Tuesday, Aug. 7, to decide the fate of a $6.4 million bond issue that would fund construction of the Mills County Law Enforcement Center. The proposed facility would house a 24-bed county jail and the Mills County Sheriff’s administrative offices. The structure would replace the county’s existing 97-year-old jail and sheriff’s office on the east side of Glenwood’s Town Square.

    The nearly 18,000 square-foot Mills County Law Enforcement Center would be built on Railroad Avenue in Glenwood, on a piece of property south of the Mills County Engineer’s Office. Several sites were considered by the Mills County Law Enforcement Center Planning Committee, made up of citizens from communities throughout the county. Two of the other sites considered were the existing Glenwood Police Station at 209 Sharp St., and the south courthouse lawn adjacent to the Mills County Courthouse.
    Committee members said several factors were considered before selecting the Railroad Ave. site. The site is less than one mile from the county courthouse and wouldn’t require costs associated with the demolition of an existing building. The property is not in a flood plain and would allow for future expansion of the facility should it become necessary.
    Mills County grand juries have been recommending the replacement of the county’s existing jail since 1992. The 13-bed facility is not in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act and does not provide housing for female or juvenile inmates.
    The vote in August will be the first on the issue since October 2007 when Mills County residents turned down construction of a $6.9 million, 24,000 square-foot facility south of the Glenwood city limits. That facility would have housed a 32-bed jail, sheriff’s office, Mills County Emergency Management Office and E-911 Communications Center. The measure failed by a 58-42 percent margin.
    Passage of the bond issue in August will require a minimum “Yes” vote of 60 percent.