Dodge County Board Votes Against Internal Borrowing To Repurpose Old Jail

(Juneau) It’s back to the drawing board for plans to repurpose an aging law enforcement building. This week, the Dodge County Board voted against borrowing internally to remodel a section of the old jail into vehicle and equipment storage for the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office.

A year ago the county board voted to close the outdated facility that was plagued with various issues. The building committee had since been reviewing what to do the 60-year-old structure that includes an addition from 1977. They determined there was need to repurpose the basement of the 1977 section into storage space while demolishing the original section from 1959. In total, the county would have borrowed just over $1.5-million-dollars from their general fund to be paid back at an interest rate of 1.9-percent over five-and-a-half years.

Supervisor Cathy Houchin has been opposed to the project and believes the county did not do their due diligence in finding alternatives. She says central services could be utilized for storage or someplace in the newer jail, stating that it already has cameras and security.

Board members also cited concerns that the project came in $600-thousand-dollars over budget. Supervisor Dennis Schmidt, who is the chair of the building committee, says they researched every option and talked with stakeholders and jail officials to discuss their needs. He says a part of the projects price tag is because the building is a (quote) “retrofit.”

The matter will now go back to the building committee for further discussion.