County executives call for funding approval for jail consolidation project

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and Sheriff Kalvin Barrett are calling on the county board to fund the long-debated county jail consolidation project, according to a news release from Parisi’s office.

Under new resolutions introduced within the past few days, the county board now has two new options to move the work forward. Final designs on the jail consolidation project will be complete in the next several weeks.

However, if dollars for the project aren’t approved by spring, bidding on construction can’t proceed, delaying the work even longer.

“The County Board needs to either pay for the project it asked be designed or allow the public a say in how to proceed on the jail,” Parisi said. “While not as high as a few months ago, national inflation remains and that means the longer this issue remains unresolved, costs will be higher and inmates are either stuck in 70-year-old jail space here or spending time in jails in other counties away from their homes and families.”

One of the three new resolutions now before the board on the jail would reallocate $13.5 million in prior authorized borrowing not utilized on other capital projects to this work. According to the release, this solution doesn’t increase the overall amount of budgeted county borrowing.

Two other resolutions set the stage for a countywide binding April referendum in which the public would decide whether the county should borrow an additional $13.5 million, the estimated funds needed to pay for the compromise jail design previously approved by the county board.