What is in this $320M package?
The $320M figure represents the hard and soft costs associated with building a 400,000 square foot jail facility in an open soybean field behind 2911 Meyer Road. This would consist of five pods housing roughly 1,300 inmates, as well as the accompanying food, medical, and laundry facilities, lockup for the drop off of arrested individuals by local law enforcement, and jail administrative offices. The county would also use money that it has on hand to pay for part of the project prior to bonding (aka getting a mortgage). The bond amount is estimated to be more in the $280-290M range.
Schematic drawings are finalized, and the Commissioners are now working with the architect team and Sheriff’s Department to review and right-size some elements of the jail while trying to keep costs as low as possible. We have now made an official request to County Council which has not been acted upon.
There are several possible ways to fund the jail project and County Council will make that decision. No matter which way is selected, bonds will be issued to pay for the construction of the jail. These bonds will be repaid over time just like a mortgage. County Council could choose to repay the bonds with property taxes, income taxes, or a combination of the two. County Council could also choose to use available cash on hand to decrease the amount that needs to be bonded (think of this like a down payment on a house which would decrease the size of your mortgage). Whatever option they choose, some form of public input will be available and/or required.
What about the old Jail?
The land and building where the current Jail sits will more than likely be sold. The building would probably be torn down but that is unknown if by the seller or the buyer. It will be several years until the new jail is built before those decisions are made.