IOWA CITY – Supporters of a criminal justice center proposed for Johnson County have raised $34,000 for their campaign and spent more than $23,000.
Opponents? They have not received any donations or spent any money, at least not enough to have to report it to the state.
The Yes for Justice committee brought in $34,365, according to a report filed Tuesday with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board. The report covers the committee’s creation in July through Oct. 14
The largest donation was $15,000 from the Johnson County Bar Association. Many local law firms and attorneys also contributed, as did a number of area elected officials and members of the public. In all, the group received 128 donations.
Yes for Justice spent $23,456. Its biggest expense was $12,000 for consulting services from Amy Correia, a former Iowa City Council member.
Voters will decide Nov. 6 whether to approve a bond issue of up to $46.8 million to go toward the construction of the justice center.
The 153,800-square-foot building would go up behind the existing county courthouse and include a 243-bed jail, Sheriff’s Office headquarters, courtrooms, and court-related space. The courthouse would continue to be used.
Supporters say the current county jail and courthouse are too small and unsafe. The county spent more than $1 million last year to house overflow inmates in jails in nearby counties.
Opponents of the justice center say the proposed jail is too big and will lead to more people undeservedly being put behind bars. They have created a website and a Facebook group, but as of earlier this month they said they had not established a campaign committee, and none is listed with the state.
Committees that do not receive contributions, make expenditures or incur debt in excess of $750 do not have to file reports with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board.