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— Workers at the Baxter County jail are physically removing dozens of beds as the county shrinks its inmate population to cut costs.

Work to remove the beds began Monday.

Sheriff John Montgomery said the county will remove 58 beds and place them in storage as the county grapples with a budget shortfall for the jail and sheriff’s department.

Last month, Baxter County voters rejected a quarter-cent sales tax that would have funded law enforcement.

The Baxter Bulletin reported that the $2.7 million jail opened in 2004 with the capacity to hold 102 inmates. Officials say that number will drop to 44 by the end of the year.

Officials say removing the beds will ensure that the county won’t be forced to take in inmates that it can’t afford to house.

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