Adair County Jail on verge of closing in months; officials look to voters to approve sales tax

STILWELL, Okla. - A Green Country jail is fighting to keep its facility open. 

Adair County Jail could face closure if it doesn't get more funding in the next couple of months. 

"We're going to run out of money quick," Adair County Sheriff David Hardin said. 

Adair County Sheriff's Office says the money is falling rapidly due to a decrease in contract inmates. 

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections pulled out of its contract with the jail in 2009. Tulsa County still has an existing contract with the jail, but has not sent prisoners to the facility in months. 

"That money added with the existing sales taxes barely kept us alive," Hardin said. 

Back in 1996, Adair County voters approved a half penny sales tax to help fund the facility. The DOC started a contract with the jail to house their inmates, but decided to end the contract in 2009. The agency's money supplemented the half cent sales tax to keep the facility in operation. 

"Right now, we have no contract prisoners from out of town... that is a concern that this facility could shut down," Hardin said. 

Hardin says it takes up to $63,000 a month, with about $24,000 coming from the sales tax, to keep the jail running. He says it will cost him more if more money does not start to roll in. 

"If this closes, then we will be looking to probably $100,000 to pay a month... this is a huge problem. It's just not a huge problem for me. It's a huge financial problem for everybody in the county." Hardin said. 

The sheriff's office is asking voters to approve another half penny sales tax to fund the jail in April. It says if it voters don't approve the funding there could be consequences for everyone. 

"If the jail tax doesn't pass, then we're going to be in trouble... Closing is the last option we need to look at because one way or another we're going to pay for it," Hardin said.

The half penny sales tax will be on the ballot in Adair County on April 1. 

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