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Dane County Executive urges supervisors to consider resolution to fund future county jail

Dane county jail

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, right, urged the Dane County Board of Supervisors to take action on a resolution to reallocate funds for a new jail building to replace the 70-year-old space in the City County Building in Madison, Wis. (M.P. King/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)

Dane County Supervisors will consider a resolution to re-allocate unspent borrowing for projects and shift them to the Dane County’s Jail consolidation project, as the bidding process to replace the 70-year-old jail inches closer.

The project will provide one consolidated jail facility and replace the outdated cell blocks in the City-County Building Jail, according to The Dane County Sheriff’s Office. Officials say that the project will reduce solitary confinement, provide visitation at the housing units, and provide multipurpose space to meet the programming and spiritual needs of residents.

The project also will provide a downtown location close to the courthouse and bus transportation, reduce the total number of beds, improve staffing and operational costs, minimize the impact to the existing operations during construction, and replace the Ferris Huber Center.

Dane County Supervisors introduced Resolution 287 several weeks ago to shift capital funds to a jail project and allow bids to proceed, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi wrote in a letter. Parisi said the time has come to decide whether the project can be put out to bid.

“That resolution was not adopted at the time it was introduced and remains before the County Board’s Public Protection and Judiciary Committee. Quick action on this resolution will advance the jail project and prevent further cost increases,” Parisi said in the letter.

The County Board deliberated several proposals and possible processes to push the project forward, but no options have been approved over the past several months of discussion, Parisi said.

Design architects advised Dane County it will cost around $179 million to build a tower adjacent to the Public Safety Building and allow the 70-year-old jail space in the City County Building to close, Parisi added.

“It’s important to remember how we arrived here. This jail costs more today than when this project was first envisioned. The redesigned project now before us to consider is smaller in scope, with fewer beds than even the decreased number of beds originally proposed. In short, because of delays in approval we now face the challenge of having to spend more money to receive a smaller project. The loss of even more time will only result in the County having to increase borrowing further,” Parisi said.

Parisi said if the measure was adopted, the project will be put out to bid this year.

About Ethan Duran

Ethan Duran is the construction and development reporter at The Daily Reporter. He can be reached at (414) 551-7505 or [email protected]

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