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Flathead Co. receives $1 million donation for new jail

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KALISPELL, Mont. - Flathead County received a $1 million donation to help pay for a new jail. County administrator Mike Pence said the donor requested to remain anonymous.

Pence says this brings the total raised for a new jail to about $6 million. Commissioner Phil Mitchell has told us that a new jail would cost anywhere between $40 million and $50 million.

Pence said the county received a $40,000 matching grant from the state to pay for a study that would get the county an exact figure on how much a new jail would cost.

Pence told us the county may ask for a bond and operational levy to pay for a new jail, but the earliest date that could happen would be in 2018.

Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry said he's "proud to live in a community where someone would see a need and help fulfill that need."

"My job is to provide public safety for the citizens of our county, and this is No. 1 on our issue list," said Curry. "We just simply don't have a spot to put the people in jail that need to be in jail."

Right now the county is building a $1.3 million, 36-bed expansion to ease the jail overcrowding.

The current jail was designed to house about 60 inmates. Curry says they frequently see a jail population of more than 100.

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