VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – The clock starts now to build Vigo County’s new jail.
“We got a time frame now, we have to live with it,” said County Commissioner Brad Anderson.
The timeline doesn’t stretch very far. Following a court deal commissioners received on Monday, a federal judge has set a timeline of 30-months for the jail project, giving them until October 2019 to have a new jail up and running in the county.
It’s a deadline that leaves little room for setbacks.
“There’s just a lot of questions we have to take to DLZ, the architectural firm,” Anderson said, “Again, trying to cut corners, be more efficient in looking at the plans. We go over it every day with a fine tooth comb.”
Anderson says they’re still in the planning stages, however, commissioners do acknowledge there are hurdles still left to go through, one of them being funding.
“Nobody likes to build a jail, nobody wants the jail in their backyard,” said Commissioner Jon Marvel, “but we’re trying to overcome those obstacles without spending any more of the taxpayer money than we have to.”
Commissioner Anderson also addressed talks of a 1.25 percent Local Income Tax increase to potentially fund the project.
“At no time did the commissioners ever ask for that, that’s just what the maximum was allowed and we had to put that into the budget to see,” he said, “It’s up to the (county) council, we hope to fund this project and it wouldn’t be near that.”
“So we don’t want people to think that 1.25 is what we’re going to raise their taxes, that’s not going to happen,” Anderson went on to say, “The commissioners have never asked for that. We’re trying to keep it down because we’re all taxpayers and our families, everybody.”
Another hurdle that Anderson says they’ll run into is the rezoning of the proposed location, the former site of International Paper. Debates on whether or not that location is fit for a jail continues, however, commissioners assure that the site will help growth and development.
“Some of the city would like to think that we’re disturbing the beautiful view of the river,” Marvel said, “We’ll be adding to the beauty, it’d be beautifully landscaped all around there. This jail would not look like anything that the jail looks like now, and it doesn’t look like a jail if you take the sign off it.”
Some of the surrounding property could possibly be given to the city, Anderson mentioned. He says it will be a collaborative effort to help keep the area attractive.