Carlton County voters approve justice center sales tax question

The justice center project will be funded through a 0.5% sales tax over the next 30 years or until $60 million is collected.

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Jean Lewis, second from right, and her son-in-law, Jason Williams, right, sign in to vote at Journey Christian Church in Cloquet on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Amy Arntson / Cloquet Pine Journal
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CARLTON — Carlton County voters on Tuesday, Nov. 8, approved the ballot question on how the county should fund its justice center project.

Residents voted resoundingly in favor of the question with 89.01% in favor and 10.99% against with all precincts reporting, according to unofficial results reported by the Minnesota Secretary of State's Office.

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Jill Kelsey votes at Thomson Town Hall on Tuesday, Nov. 8, with her son, Sully.
Amy Arntson / Cloquet Pine Journal

The ballot question asked voters if they would like to have the $65.8 million project funded by a local-option sales tax. County officials stated that should the question fail, the project would be funded through the county's property tax levy.

The tax approved by voters is a countywide 0.5% local-option sales tax to fund the justice center project. The tax will run for 30 years or until the county has collected $60 million.

Planning for the project began in 2020, when the county received a sunset letter from the Minnesota Department of Corrections for its current jail facility. The letter required the county to move out of the facility by July 2023.


Construction on the project began in August, and the latest update is that it is moving along steadily, according to Jail Administrator Paul Coughlin. In an update provided to the County Board on Nov. 1, Coughlin said the third bid package is now out and will close Nov. 17.

The next phase of the project includes erecting steel for the structure, which is scheduled for Nov. 21.

Coughlin said officials are also working to get pictures and drone footage of the progress uploaded to the county's website.

Officers found the 35-year-old slumped over in his vehicle in a gas station parking lot, according to the criminal complaint.

Dylan covers the local governments of Cloquet and Carlton County, as well as the Esko and Wrenshall school boards for the Cloquet Pine Journal.
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