The Saline County Commission voted 2-1 Wednesday to place a proposed renovation and expansion of the jail on the November 4th ballot.
Commissioners Jim Gile and John Price voted in favor of the move – to let residents decide whether to fund a blueprint that would combine a 344 bed jail with court services and county attorney’s offices under one roof.
The cost of the three story complex is an estimated $46.5 million dollars.
Chairman Randy Duncan opposed the plan.
The current jail houses an average of about 217 inmates in a 192 bed facility.
Sheriff Glen Kochanowski tells KSAL News the proposed complex makes safety a priority, “Right now we transport, in the public, to the courthouse – anywhere between 10 and 35 prisoners a day,” he said.
“That’s taking them out of the jail running them across the street. They are out walking amongst the citizens that are going to the City-County Building, using the same elevator.”
“It’s important that we look at the safety of the community first.”
Funding for the new jail-justice center could be raised through sales tax, property tax or bonds.
One hurdle that has emerged in the process is a clause that holds the County responsible for over $486,000 in rent annually for the space currently occupied by the courts and county attorney in the City-County Building.
The plan for a new campus that would be home for the jail and courts would also add parking at the former Saline County Juvenile Center.