New Winnebago County Jail?

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Local law enforcement officials met with the county board tonight to propose their plan for a new 1,200 bed jail facility.

The plan officials say is needed due to the overcrowding at the current jail and without it they say public safety could be in jeopardy.

This plan for a new jail has an incredible price tag of $130 million to be exact. Not including the cost for additional correction officers. It's a facility they say that will ensure the safety of the public and serve the counties long-term goals.

The county board heard several hours of projections from law enforcement officials about the what this new facility would cost in the end they asked the board to approve a one percent increase in counties sales tax.

The one percent increase would generate more than $23 million annually to repay the cost of the loan to build the new facility. It would also pay for new personal that would be needed to staff the new jail and it would cover the cost of new criminal justice programs a lot of money officials say that is need to keep the public safe.

The new facility would be located south of State Street and encompass a two block area from Winnebago to a new street that will be designed near Horseman Street. Business 20 will also be relocated. But, now all officials have to do is to convince the public.

The county board won't vote on this until Aug. 22. In the mean time they plan to hold three public hearings to sell this plan to the public. If voters do approve the plan come November.

The new sales tax won't be imposed until July of 2003. If it doesn’t get approved, then the board says the may look into raising property taxes to foot the bill.