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Another Step Forward Toward New Detention Center for Otero County

(La Junta, CO) -- Otero County commissioners drafted a resolution to ok certificates of participation to fund a new detention center. The resolution included the authorizing of the lease site where the detention center would be built.

The county has been in talks about what to do about providing a larger detention center since before 2020. When the pandemic occurred, it was decided to wait until later.

There's been an open call for contractors to submit bids to do the work to expand the current Otero County jail to make way for more beds.

The resolution authorizes the county to spend up to 15 million dollars for the expansion.

Amy White Tanabe says the current line item on the budget that pays for inmates to be housed in other counties would go toward the debt for the expansion. She says it's just a way to keep the money local to Otero County.

Alan Matlosz with Stifel Public Finance explained the resolution does not obligate the county to use his firm but simply authorizes them to access the funds. The closing could come as soon as the end of September.

Right now, Otero is using neighboring Bent County to house inmates when there's not enough room in their jail or even drive them to counties further away.

The resolution passed and the room broke into applause because the topic has been ongoing for several years.


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