Dane Co. Executive Parisi pushes for passing of jail project resolution
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Dane County Executive Joe Parisi is urging board supervisors to pass a resolution that would put the jail consolidation project on a path to moving forward.
Parisi explained in a letter to board supervisors Monday that a resolution introduced weeks ago would reallocate unspent, previously approved borrowing for other projects and shift the funds to the jail project. This would allow a bid to move forward on the project and the construction to proceed, without the need for any more money.
“The time has arrived to decide whether this project can proceed and be put out to bid,” Parisi said.
As the proposal stands now, it would cost about $179 million. Designers have pitched building a tower adjacent to the Public Safety Building and shutting down the nearly 70-year-old jail space in the City County Building.
“The re-designed project now before us to consider is smaller in scope, with fewer beds than even the decreased number of beds originally proposed,” Parisi said. “In short, because of delays in approval we now face the challenge of having to spend more money to receive a smaller project.”
Resolution 287 was not adopted at the time it was introduced and Parisi said that it’s currently with the County Board Public Protection and Judiciary Committee. The County Executive pushed for the board to act on the resolution quickly, or face the possibility of having the costs increase even more.
The plan backed by Parisi and Dane County Sheriff Kalvin Barrett calls for a six-story, 825-bed facility. Since their plan was revealed, the projected price tag has risen twice, while the ambitions for the jail have shrunk.
During a Board meeting in January, board members voted on taking the question before Dane Co. voters on the ballot this spring through a referendum question, voting the proposal down. The Board then moved back to discussing a general obligation bond proposal. After more public comments on the $13.5 million bond issue, the Board voted in favor of rereferring the proposal to the personnel and finance committee for consideration of indefinite postponement.
The County Executive Office and Sheriff’s Office previously pushed for supervisors to put a similar question before voters during November’s mid-term ballot, only to see the deadline for that election come and go. In November, supervisors passed their own plan for a five-story structure, one floor less than the one backed by Parisi and Barrett, only to have it vetoed by the county executive two days later.
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