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Voters asked to increase county Law Enforcement Levy


April 30, 2014

Linn County voters will decide May 20 whether to approve a 25-cent increase in the Linn County Law Enforcement Levy.

The Law Enforcement Levy, which provides funding the Linn County Sheriff’s Office, Linn County Juvenile Department and the District Attorney’s Office, expires on June 30, 2015. About 76 percent of the funds go to the Sheriff’s Office.

The county is asking for a four-year levy that would replace the final year of the existing levy to reopen a 48-bed wing at Linn County Jail. The request increases the Law Enforcement Levy from $2.58 to $2.83 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

About two years ago, the Sheriff’s Office closed the L-Block, a wing of 48 beds at Linn County Jail, said Sheriff Bruce Riley. The closure was caused by compression, an effect of property tax limitations, along with other factors, including changes in state funding.

“Virtually all of the money required to open that goes to staff,” Riley said. The Sheriff’s Office would need to hire eight new deputies.

Capacity would increase from 182 to 230, he said. If approved, the Sheriff’s Office can begin using the funding on July 1, but it will take several months to get staff trained and reopen the wing.

“We are hopeful voters approve this for us,” Riley said, adding that a place to lock up “bad guys” is vital to the safety and security of county citizens.


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