Wisconsin Rapids (OnFocus) – The Wood County Board of Supervisors met this morning and approved two resolutions to move forward with a $58 million new jail project. Supervisor William Winch was the only “no” vote.
The current correctional facility has not seen extensive updates in decades, resulting in significant gaps in storage needs, technology possibilities, and programming space. Built in the 1950’s and expanded in the 1980’s, there are several safety, efficiency, and maintenance issues with the current facility.
Discussion for a new jail facility started in the late 1990’s, and in 2001, a jail study was completed. At the time, a new facility would have cost $20 million, but the vote failed and funding was not provided.
Of the current jail challenges, most costly is the need to house inmates at other correctional institutions due to limited space. Currently, Wood County spends approximately $1.3 million every year to house 90 inmates in other jail facilities. These are contracted costs averaging $35/36 per day per inmate, and a cost that will continue to increase exponentially. The new jail project would add 87 beds, bringing the jail’s capacity to 225 with potential for up to 300 if bunks are doubled.
For taxpayers, there will be a 30-cent increase in the mill rate. What this means is taxpayers would pay an additional 30 cents per $100,000 of assessed property value for the first two years. After that, the amount increases to 35 cents. After five years, that amount would decrease incrementally until the loan is repaid.
Read more about the need for a new jail here.
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