Southern Utah News Articles
Top Stories for September 16, 2009
Jail to become a reality
While the Kane County jail issue has been discussed for years, it appears a 200-bed public safety facility will soon become a reality near Kaneplex beginning next spring. The Kane County Sheriff''s Office is going forward with plans to build a facility that will assist in paying for what the county is mandated (and currently inadequate) in providing – jail space for local inmates. The facility will house a 200-bed jail, for county and state inmates. The recouped state money will provide funds for taking care of local needs.
A public hearing was held last week at the Kane County Commission meeting concerning the issuance of Lease Revenue Bonds for the public safety building not to exceed $18,000,000. The facility will also house the Sheriff''s Office and other public entities.
The Community Impact Board (CIB) loan is for $7.5 million at 2.5% interest, with interest-only payments for the first five years. The U.S.D.A. is also assisting with the project funding. The county will be required to have an extra 10% as a rainy day fund, and will probably need to borrow extra to make the first few payments. The thought is once the building is occupied, it should pay for itself with rental to state inmates and perhaps, state offices.
Deputy Sheriff Tracy Glover said jail financing has been something the 14-person jail ad hoc committee has been working on for over three years. All county taxpayers, they were also concerned on how a new facility might affect their taxes. When putting pencil to paper, they figured getting the state inmate revenue would be crucial in providing the county jail space it needs, with little or no impact on taxes.
The state has assured him inmate occupation will not be a problem, said Glover. The state contracts about 1800 inmates out, with smaller facilities like Kane County being able to provide the services for less. "We''ve been very methodical in seeking the best funding for the project."
Glover said they arrived at the Kaneplex location, after five sites were studied. Most public input desired the location to be out of the way. When discussing the ''quality of life issues'' surrounding a public safety facility housing state inmates, he said it''s more of a perceived risk than an actual one. "If an inmate, or his or her family cause problems here, we have total control of moving the inmate out quickly," commented Glover.
On economic impact, the new jail will provide roughly 15 new jobs. It will have a full kitchen and laundry.
Glover said he has come full circle in his own contemplation of the jail situation. He said at first he wasn''t embracing the larger facility, and had the same thought most of us have, if we don''t have enough room, send the state inmates we currently have back. But therein lies the problem; the contracted state inmates pay for our local responsibilities. But a bigger jail, more employees, and bigger budget, usually means bigger headaches.
"We understand that people don''t really like getting into the jail business," said Glover. "But we would not be looking at the project unless it was desperately needed."