Task Force Outlines Cost of Jail Expansion

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(photo courtesy Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Office) (photo courtesy Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Office)

A report from the Jail Task Force in Vanderburgh County says an expansion of the county jail could cost up to $40 million. The Courier & Press reports the proposed project would add two housing units with a total of 600 beds, which Vanderburgh County Commissioner Cheryl Musgrave says would alleviate overcrowding and add jail staff.

The commissioners plan to seek $1 million from the county council next week to begin engineering design work on the project. Musgrave says the task force's report on the cost of the expansion is based on the city using a 25-year bond to pay for it, but it is also looking at an approach with a 30-year loan.

"That very first year (2019) we could issue a $40 million bond and start paying on it, so we decided to take a different approach," Musgrave said at a Tuesday meeting. "There are other approaches we could take as well, but just to take out enough to pay the construction costs until we need to pay the whole thing. Then you kick off the bond when the big bill comes in."

Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding says it would cost between $500,000 and $1 million for additional personnel to meet the current needs of the jail. The Courier & Press reports the new jail would have annual operating costs of about $2 million. 

Musgrave said the task force will meet again in a month to review another draft of the proposed expansion.

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