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Garfield County jail, Tinker bond proposal on Tuesday's ballot

Proposals to build a new Garfield County jail and to buy land around Tinker Air Force Base are among the issues Oklahoma voters will decide Tuesday.

The state attorney general's office filed a lawsuit in November to close the current 76-bed jail atop the Garfield County Courthouse. The state jail inspector, citing structural and staffing problems, requested the suit.

Voters will be asked to approve a half-cent sales tax to build a jail to replace the facility. Revenue generated from the sales tax would be used to build a $17.6 million county jail with 215 beds.

Garfield County Commissioner Wendell Vencl said there's not much time to waste because of the pending lawsuit. Also, the sheriff's department has inmates in several locations, including the Enid city jail and the Oklahoma, Grant and Alfalfa county jails.

``It's just become more of a logistical problem,'' Vencl said.

If approved, construction on the jail, which will be located at the Garfield County Fairgrounds, could begin later this year and take two years to finish.

Oklahoma County voters will be asked to approve the $50 million bond issue to buy land for Tinker Air Force Base. The money would be used to finance an expansion of the base, which backers say would help Tinker remain open during the next round of base closings in 2005.

Tinker officials say they need to expand the security zone near a runway, but officials said there also has been talk of adding space for private contractors to do work associated with the maintenance depot at the base.

In Tulsa, voters will select a new mayor for the first time in a decade. Mayor Susan Savage chose not to seek re-election to the job she has held longer than anyone in Tulsa's history.

Candidates are Republican Bill LaFortune, Democrat Gary Watts and independents Paul Tay, Milton T. Goodwin and Lawrence Kirkpatrick. The winner will take office April 1.

Tulsa County Republicans will choose a candidate to face Democrat Roy McClain to fill the state House District 71 seat being vacated by John Sullivan.

Six candidates are in the Republican primary: Robert Pinney, Ed Kligora, Misti Rice, Evelyn L. Rogers, Fred J. Cotton and Chad Stites.

Sullivan resigned his seat after being elected to fill the congressional term of Steve Largent, who has resigned to run for governor.

Voters in several school districts will decide bond proposal to fund projects, including new classrooms and equipment.

Among them are Bethel voters, who will decide a $1.3 million bond for 10 elementary classrooms and other improvements. Voters in the Jay school district will decide a $1.465 million proposal to replace roofs in the district.

Mustang voters will decide a $425,000 bond for six buses and a $7.375 million proposal for elementary and middle school classrooms and other improvements.

Voters in the Skiatook school district will decide a $4.5 million bond to build 36 classrooms at four sites.
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