The first returns from last summer’s approval of two one-half cent sales tax to build and equip and maintain a new 100-bed Logan County detention center were realized in March.

Each of the half pennies netted the county 79,170.47 according to a distribution report by State Treasurer Dennis Milligan.

The taxes were overwhelmingly passed, each receiving 71 percent favor, last July, but state laws regarding an election challenge period, coupled with a requirement that the tax take effect on the first day of the quarter pushed collection of the tax to Jan. 1 of this year.

Taxes collected in one month are remitted to Milligan’s office following month and back to the municipalities on whose behalf they were collected in the month after than, meaning March was the first time county coffers realized income for the project.

Plans for the jail, to be built on county owned property on South Lowder Street, were unanimously approved by the 15th Judicial District Criminal Detention Facilities Review Committee on March 24.

The existing jail, built in the 1980s had repeatedly been cited for failing to meet jail standards — specifically being overcrowded, understaffed and unsafe — prompting County Judge Ray Gack, County Sheriff Boyd Hicks and a Quorum Court committee take the measure to the people on July 12 of last year.

Gack said after the meeting last month once the State Fire Marshall signs off on the plan, advertisements for bids will go out for the project. The judge has stated he expects construction to take a year.

That’s not to say that funds haven’t been expended for the project yet because the county has already secured $10 million in bonds for construction on Oct. 17 of last year — the measure approved by voters would allow for a maximum of $13 million — and officials were permitted to start spending that money in late November.