With Delaware County just a couple of weeks away from opening a new Sheriff's Office and Jail, it’s a good time to recognize the hard work done by so many to make the project a reality.
Our editorial board supported the passage of the sheriff's office/jail referendum ahead of the May 2019 vote. We cited the need for more space than we believed then, and still believe, would provide more safety for law enforcement officials, prisoners and the general public.
We also cited the need for fiscal responsibility and saw the $5.9 million price tag on the 18,622 square feet facility to be a better use of county tax dollars than the estimated $8, 978,621 it was estimated to cost over the next 20 years to transport prisoners out of county should the old jail be closed because of safety issues.
We believe county officials have delivered what they set out to do: to build a new facility in line with being fiscally responsible. The final product is a no-frills jail that is still head and shoulders above what the county was using.
This was the third referendum on the facility, after failed attempts in 2014 and 2015. Those first two attempts, while having lower price tags, only paid for security upgrades and additional space at the old jail.
We credit the vision of the Delaware County Board of Supervisors, who after the first two attempts, took some time to dig into the reasons behind the two failed referendums. They listened to law enforcement officials and constituents. They saw the need for a new set of eyes, bringing in Midwest Construction Consultants, who eventually recommended a brand new facility if a third referendum was to occur.
Ahead of the vote, county officials scheduled a series of public meetings throughout the county to educate the voters on the referendum. Tours of the old facility were also offered. Those who toured the old jail certainly came away convinced of the need for a new facility.
On the day of the referendum, over 85% of the 2,534 voters who went to the polls supported the measure.
Supervisors did their due diligence selecting a site for the new sheriff's office/jail that best serves the needs of the county.
We were also pleased to see some local contractors have the opportunity to work on the project, helping to keep jobs in the county.
We thank and congratulate everyone involved in the project, among them the county board of supervisors Pete Buschmann, Jeff Madlom and Shirley Helmrichs, former supervisor Doug Dabroski, who was on the board when the two previous referendums were held, the Delaware County Sheriff Office, and most importantly, the voters of Delaware County.
Working together, the people of Delaware County have a safe, secure facility that will serve the county for decades to come.