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New jail levy ballots sent out in mail, due on Jan. 28

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POLSON – On Jan. 8, 15,748 mail-in election ballots were sent out. Registered Lake County voters are asked to approve or disapprove of the county commissioner’s levy request for the ability to collect up to $2.5 million annually for 20 years to help finance a proposed new jail and courtroom expansion project.

“We have gotten to a point where we have to do something, in my opinion,” said Lake County Commissioner Bill Barron. “We have reached a point where I don’t feel we have any other option but to put forth a mill levy.”

If approved by voters, the 20-year levy will be used to double the number of beds in the county jail, increasing the jail capacity to 100 beds and to construct an additional district courtroom and provide office space for court staff. The levy funds would also provide funding for anticipated operational costs associated with the new facility along with a jail diversion and mental-health programs.

The fiscal impact for homeowners is estimated to be $50.40 per year on a home with a market value of $100,000; $100.79 per year on a home with a market value of $200,000; and $201.59 per year on a home with a market value of $400,000, according to county documents.

Voters will have until 8 p.m. on Jan. 28 to return the ballots to Lake County Election officials. 

Election officials remind voters that a ballot returned by mail needs enough time to reach the election office. A ballot postmarked on the Jan. 28 wouldn’t make it to the election office in time.

Voters are encouraged to participate in the election and additional levy or ballot questions can be directed to the commissioners at 406-883-7204; by email at; or contact the election office at 406-883-7268. More information can be found at

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