In a vote that took place on Tuesday, Burleigh and Morton County residents approved a temporary half-cent sales tax that will fund the completion of a badly-needed combined detention facility.

While the facility will cost some $70 million to build, voters determined it will be money well-spent, providing local housing for inmates who would otherwise be shipped to other cities' jails, increasing the overall cost of accommodation.

The 213,000-square-foot facility will have the ability to house 476 inmates, with the capacity to expand to 1,000 in the future if the need arises.

In the past five years the two counties have spent $1.7 million housing its overflow of inmates, and the projected cost for this year alone is another $1 million. Taking that expense off the books should offset the facility's operation costs.

It is estimated that the facility should be ready to accommodate inmates by early 2017.

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