10/23/17 – The Dodge County Sheriff says he knows the message he needs to communicate to the county board next spring related to the future of the old jail and the new jail. Last week, the Dodge County Board voted down a resolution that would have set a date in 2020 to close the old jail permanently. The building located on North Main Street in Juneau has been plagued with issues in recent years including code problems, outdated video equipment, and rundown mechanical systems. Sheriff Dale Schmidt, who is in favor of closing the old jail, believes a detailed strategy should be put in place before any decisions are made. He says revenue generated from the old jail through contracted beds aids local tax payers. That revenue is close to $3-million dollars and Schmidt says operational costs at the old jail total roughly $1-million dollars. He points out that the extra $2-million dollars offsets his departments costs, which means it is $2-million less added to the tax levy during budget time.
In September, the sheriff’s office presented a plan to add two new housing pods to the existing jail and turn the old jail into a training, parking, and storage facility. Schmidt says that proposal makes the “most sense” but affirms that is for the county board to decide. During an appearance on WBEV’s Community last week, Schmidt explained some the main points his office wants to address when coming up with a plan for the old jail. He says his office needs to show the repercussions of closing the old jail and not replacing those beds. As well as work with a consultant to identify issues and develop maps. Schmidt anticipates a strategy will be ready to present to the county board by the start of next of summer.