Wood County Board moves jail project forward
By City Times staff
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – At their August meeting, the Wood County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution to allow for the borrowing of $61.5 million, to provide for the construction of a new county jail.
In June, the Wood County Board approved the $58 million jail project, passing both a resolution to approve the project and one to borrow up to $58 million to pay for it. District 9 Supervisor William Winch was the lone “no vote” for both resolutions.
The amount will pay for the design, construction, acquisition of land, and equipment for the project, including the demolition of the existing jail, once the new jail is constructed.
The remaining $3,500,000 of the $61.5 million to be borrowed will be used for highway and capital improvement projects, which was approved by the board in July.
Winch questioned the lumping of the two items into one resolution, instead of having the jail project and highway/CIP borrowing separated into two resolutions.
“One of the reasons we are doing it this way is first of all it is more economical, it saves us somewhere between $30-40,000. And the second reason is…that all of those monies could be used for CIP if necessary, depending on what was going on. This is the first time we’ve done something like this. I want to thank our financial consultants for looking after our best welfare,” said District 4 Supervisor Ed Wagner.
The resolution to borrow the $61.5 million passed 18-1, with Winch voting no.
Wood County Sheriff Shawn Becker said in an earlier interview with the City Times that a jail study indicated the facility would need over $5 million in updates/repairs and did not adequately fit current inmate needs.
“We initially liked the idea of renovating and building on our current jail to improve its functionality, but we quickly learned that the cost of housing all of our inmates out of county during construction along with the hard costs of the rebuild would be significantly more expensive than new construction on the courthouse property,” he explained.
Parts of the jail facility were built in the 1950s and added onto in the late 1980s.