Kingman County looking at new law enforcement center

Jail bars (KSN File Photo)
Jail bars (KSN File Photo)

KINGMAN COUNTY, Kansas – Kingman County commissioners voted unanimously Monday to take a fresh look at a new law enforcement center for the county.

Commissioners voted not to build a design developed over the past year by BG Architects, Manhattan.

The latest cost estimates for that building, which included offices for the Kingman County Sheriff, Kingman Police, 911 dispatch, emergency management and a 32-bed jail, were $10.5 million.

Instead, commissioners voted that “a new design be prepared for a new facility.”

Commissioners also decided to set the cost of a new LEC not to exceed what could be funded with revenues from a 1 percent countywide retailers’ sales tax. County voters will go to the polls April 8 to consider enacting the 1 percent tax.

County voters turned down a measure last October that would have enacted a one-quarter percent sales tax and extended an existing three-quarter percent tax to fund a new LEC.

Commissioners acknowledged that the estimated project cost – at that time it was $11.8 million – was what voters didn’t like.

After that sales tax measure failed, commissioners worked on cost reductions to the BG design, shaving off $1.3 million. Steffen said Monday that voters have told him the price tag still is too high.

The current LEC houses the sheriff’s office, police, 911 and the jail in a building built in 1959 and located just south of the courthouse near downtown Kingman.

The jail’s current capacity is 13 beds. In addition to jail capacity, other concerns with the current LEC are the lack of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, lack of storage for evidence and other records, safety, and inadequate office space for staff.

If passed, revenue from the 1 percent sales tax will be shared by the county and its seven incorporated cities.

The tax is expected to raise approximately $910,000 annually, with 63 percent of revenue ($576,849) going to the county.

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