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Bond Referendum on Chickasaw County Jail This Year?

While Chickasaw County Supervisors last week debated a permanent home to house the ambulances for their new EMS Department, this week’s main facility discussion was replacing their aging County jail.

The County and the City of New Hampton recently heard results of a study of how dated the current jail has become as well as possible configurations and costs for a new jail. The Samuels Group proposed a basic jail with booking area, holding cells and new offices for the sheriff’s department for about $13.2 million.

During Monday’s Board meeting, Supervisor Jake Hackman said he was leery of the price tag for a bond referendum. He also considered an alternative.

Sheriff Ryan Shawver acknowledged other counties have done away with their own jail, but it could also mean limitations on law enforcement service if deputies have to take subjects to  a neighboring county.

County Attorney David Laudner also noted that having no jail presents problems with housing subjects when they are initially arrested.

The Samuels Group cautioned officials that waiting on a new County jail will mean construction costs will rise about 8% annually. Supervisor Matt Kuhn said it’s one reason to act sooner rather than later.

The consensus of the Board is to get a bond referendum before voters either this September or November. However, what form that referendum could take could be dependent on whether the City of New Hampton is willing to foot about 25% of the overall bill for a jail, because that’s where New Hampton Police also take subjects they arrest.

Mark Pitz

News Director/Weekdays 10am to 2pm on 95.9 KCHA
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