BOC Hears Proposal for New Jail Project
The following is a letter from Sheriff Sickler:
March 21, 2019
To the valued residents of Jackson County,
Today, the Board of Commissioners heard a proposal asking for their support for the creation of a service district to fund a new jail. It’s the first big step in a process to refer the matter to you, the voters. The proposal follows nearly two years of research and collaborative planning. We are working to provide the best solution for the problems in our community with the least financial impact to citizens.
I believe the proposed jail facility would be very efficient – able to house more than twice the number of inmates as the current jail with only a 24% increase in staffing. We would also be able to better serve inmates affected by addiction and mental health issues. Below is some of the information about the proposed facility and funding. Please remember the figures regarding costs are estimates and could change slightly, but I believe they are realistic based on the research we have conducted to date.
- Square footage: 214,842 in a one-story pod-style design (current space is 77,300 in a linear, three-story design)
- Total Capacity: 800 beds (current capacity is 300)
- Staffing assessment: 105 Full Time Employees (current FTE allocation: 79.5)
- Highlights: housing pods designed to support mental health and substance abuse treatment; medical services; available space and infrastructure to support future expansion.
COST ASSESSMENT AND FUNDING:
- Total cost for construction: ~ $166 million
- Contribution from Jackson County reserve funds: $66 million
- Service district funding: proposed $100 million bond over 20 years to fund construction AND continued operation of jail
- Estimated annual property tax rate: ~ $0.83 per $1000 (however, the library bond expires in 2020, making the net cost $0.71).
The Board of Commissioners will review the information presented today and meet again on Tuesday, March 26. They are expected to decide whether to move forward with the service district process. If they approve, the service district proposal will be referred to each municipality in the county. A series of public hearings will be held to provide information and an opportunity for your feedback.
I know many of you are feeling the strain caused by jail overcrowding in Jackson County. Higher crime rates and repeat offenders affect the quality of life for people living and working here. My goal is to present the jail bond to voters on the November 2019 ballot in order to start construction as quickly and cost effectively as possible. The cost of construction goes up every year, so I’d like to get this project started as soon as possible – with your support. Be assured, I am working diligently to provide you with the best option to improve public safety in Jackson County.
Sheriff Nathan Sickler
Note: The downloadable presentation below was updated on 3/25/19 to include slides with statistical information about the financial impact of crime in Jackson County.