YELLVILLE, Ark. – Two choices on Arkansas’ November ballot crossed paths in Yellville, Thursday afternoon.
U.S. Senator John Boozman, who is running for re-election, toured the Marion County Sheriff’s Department, which is asking voters to pass a tax for a new jail.
In March, a three-quarter-cent tax measure to fund the construction of a 94-bed jail was rejected by voters. The county has since scaled back the proposal to a half-cent sales tax for a 62-bed jail.
“If it is not funded at this point, the state will close [the current jail] or make it a 24-hour holding facility,” says Marion County Sheriff Joan Vickers. 
“They’ve given us extension after extension, there will be no more extensions,” she says. “It will just remain a 24-hour holding facility.”
If the measure passes, the county will begin construction on the new jail which is expected to cost around $7.3-million.
If the tax doesn’t pass, and the state grants the holding facility designation, the county will then have to transfer inmates to jails in other counties. Vickers estimates that will cost at least $600,000 a year. 
“It’s going to be very, very expensive [to transfer inmates], she says. “We would have to hire transport officers; we certainly would not want to leave the county uncovered.”
“[The jail] certainly needs some work,” says U.S. Senator Boozman.
“The people that are running the jail are doing all that they can do,” he says. “But time gets away and we’re in a situation because of need, overcrowding and just the facility itself.”
The Senator said his stop in Marion County wasn’t to campaign, but rather to check in on issues happening in his backyard. 
KOLR 10 took the opportunity to ask him about politics at the national level and the possibility of the democrats taking control of the Senate this election cycle. 
“I’m very concerned [it could happen],” he says. 
“The last time the democrats [had control] they got Dodd-Frank that regulates our community banks… you got Obamacare, and they almost got cap and trade, which would have doubled our utilities,” Boozman says.
“We’re going to maintain the House,” he says. “I think the Senate and the House would be a good check on the Presidency. Although, the Presidential election is far from over.”
Boozman is running against democrat, Connor Eldridge, and according to recent polls, has a significant lead. 
As for the Marion County jail, the previous tax proposal failed by roughly 100 votes out of 4,400 possible.