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Citizens to Vote on Jail in November

Todd PittengerAugust 20, 2020

Saline County Commissioners have approved a resolution on ballot language to place a question on the November 3rd General Election ballot to impose a ½ cent sales tax for the purpose of constructing, furnishing, and equipping a new Jail and Sheriff’s Office.

Four Town Halls were held where key stakeholders and citizens considered four options. After extensive review of all the options and review of the construction costs and operation costs, a new facility on a Greenfieldsite was chosen to be the best solution for Saline County.

The jail project plans include:

  • A sales tax would pay for the general obligation bonds that would be needed to finance the construction of the facility.
  • The facility includes a new detention facility, Sheriff’s offices and, related law enforcement administrative facilities, parking and, all improvements appurtenant thereto.
  • The sales tax would end as soon as the bonds are paid off. Financial Advisors estimate that bonds could be paid off in a range of 15 to 20 years dependent on the revenues that are received. It is a requirement by law for the sales tax to expire as soon as the bonds are paid off.
  • The ballot question asks for voters to decide on a project that will not exceed $89,655,000.
  • Architect Jeff Lane, with Treanor HL, provided additional information on the design of the new facility and the ability for the needed flexibility for medical needs, especially with COVID.

Plans for the new facility include:

  • Facility will be 392 beds. A consultant projected that by 2038 our average daily population would be over 400.
  • Will have dedicated medical areas for males and females and dedicated areas for those that need mental health care.
  • Expanded program space to add programs to help with rehabilitation and re-entry.
  • Space for dedicated program staff with the potential to add facility specific social worker or mental health professional.
  • Energy efficient, utilities that are more accessible for repairs, staff efficiencies.
  • $89,655,000 total project costs and includes funds for purchasing property to build on
  • 49 additional full-time staff will be needed to run the facility at full capacity, the Jail already employs 55 people.
  • Includes a new Sheriff’s Office space for Administration, Patrol, Investigations, and Records.

A letter has been received from the North Central Kansas Regional Juvenile Detention Facility,expressing interest in transforming the 1995 portion of the jail into a juvenile center run by them.

Saline County Sheriff Roger Soldan provided information on the issues with COVID and the in-ability to house the overflow of inmates in other counties and the challenges of quarantining new inmates in the jail due to the lack of single cells.

Commissioners discussed the “Criminal Justice Complex” language in the resolution. County Administrator, Phillip Smith-Hanes clarified that the language does not include courts or other departments like what was put on the 2014 ballot.

Sheriff Soldan stated, “This isn’t a want, it’s a need.” Chairman Vidricksen echoed the Sheriff’s statement. Information regarding the jail project and can be found on the county’s website www.saline.org/Jail-Project-2020.

Copyright © Meridian Media, 2021. All Rights Reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced without Meridian Media’s express consent.

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