Voters in a small southwest Iowa county go to the polls Tuesday to decide whether to impose a one-cent local sales tax to finance construction of a new jail. Ringgold County Sheriff Mike Sobotka says the two men who preceded him as sheriff started the push for a new jail.
The current jail, which is on the fourth floor of the Ringgold County Courthouse in Mount Ayr, was built in 1927 — but the iron in it came from the original Ringgold County Jail which was built in 1895. That means the bars on the cells are over one-hundred years old. The old jail can house six prisoners.
The sheriff backs construction of a new, single-story jail that can house up to 22 prisoners at a time. The sheriff’s office will stay in the Ringgold County Courthouse, as Sheriff Sobotka says he and the deputies help provide security in the courthouse. "The other thing is the local option sales tax would not produce enough revenue to build a law enforcement center," Sobotka says. "It will only produce enough revenue to build this facility that we’re proposing." The new jail is projected to cost two-and-a-half million dollars.