Public Information Meetings Scheduled For Starke County Jail Project

Starke County Jail

The Starke County Jail Committee met recently and a consultant from the DLZ Corporation gave the committee options concerning the jail. Commissioner Kathy Norem said several public information meetings have been scheduled to inform county residents of those findings.

“The first will be Thursday, July 26 at the Knox Middle School Cafeteria at 6 p.m., or you can attend one of the other two meetings,” Norem explained. “One will be Tuesday, July 31 at the Oregon-Davis High School Cafeteria at 6 p.m. or Wednesday, August 1 at 6 p.m. at the North Judson-San Pierre High School Auditorium.”

Norem says a number of options were presented by DLZ, and each of them have their pros and cons.

“One is doing nothing – which of course really is not an option at all – or building an entirely new jail on a green site, retrofitting an existing building to meet the needs of a jail, or remodeling or expanding the current jail,” Norem explained. “They do have some dollars and cents figures attached to each of those options and those are the things that we will be sharing.”

A representative from Umbaugh and Associates will be at the meetings to discuss cost for all of the options given to the committee. Commissioner Norem encourages residents to attend a meeting because the cost of a new or rehabilitated facility for a jail will affect all taxpayers.

“In the State of Indiana, there are only two ways to pay for Capital Projects such as this. That is namely income tax or property tax,” she explained. “So, we’ve engaged Umbaugh and Associates to tell us what the cost is going to be to the individual taxpayer, whether we go with income tax, property tax, or a blend of the two. We’ll have a full presentation on that. This is important and it will affect you.”

The next step will involve the Committee appearing before a joint meeting of the Starke County Commissioners and Starke County Council.

“The committee will take the public input, as well as the findings that we have gotten from the consulting firm and make a presentation to the joint meeting of the council and commissioners on how to go forward,” Norem said.