Two years ago, Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek visited with me about his plans to put forth a ballot imitative to build a new jail. Initially, I supported this concept, but not today.
What originally was a new jail facility has evolved into a “justice center” with a retrofit being done to a 111-year-old courthouse attached to a new jail facility that will be built in downtown Iowa City.
The bond issue before the voters on Nov. 6 is for a $48 million proposal to build this facility. That is for construction only.
I believe the present jail needs to be replaced. There is plenty of information about the capacity of this new facility, but nothing about how much it will cost to run it. I agree that the courthouse is too small and lacks adequate security. But does it make sense to renovate this building?
Why does this new facility need to be built on some of the most expensive real estate in the county?
One needs to look no further than the Joint Emergency Communications Center to see what happens in Johnson County when a new facility is built without getting all of the facts up front.
I will be voting no on the Johnson County Justice Center.
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