The numbers are in, and the estimated cost for the new Vigo County Jail to operate came to more than $6 million.
“As we know right now, we have been spending money on lawsuits because they consider the jail unconstitutional, and we are sending people out to other counties,“ Vigo County Commissioner Brad Anderson said. “So, it’s important that we make it safer for the people that are in there and also the employees.“
For months, county leaders and taxpayers asked about the cost to operate a new jail. Thursday the Vigo County Commissioners made those figures available.
DLZ Engineering Architectural and Construction Services Designing the new jail came up with an estimate of how much the new jail could cost with their current design.
Then DLZ sent those numbers to Umbaugh Accountants who put the figures and study together.
The study estimates that the cost to operate the new jail will be around $6.3 million, that’s $2.5 million more than what it cost to run the jail in 2018.
Anderson said he feels the cost won’t be as high as what’s estimated.
“With the new efficiencies with the building and with all the stuff that they do to save water, we are talking about solar panels to heat the water, I think we will be able to keep it down to a minimum,“ Anderson said.
The operation expenses were based on the jail’s current capacity population of 268, with the expense assumptions that in the new facility, the inmate population would increase to 340.
The study considered payroll, food, the housing of inmates in other counties, equipment and more.
Anderson said he disagrees with some of the payroll figures from 2018. That’s because he said the addition of 27 new employees was not taken into consideration until 2019.
“See here’s things that I look at that I don’t agree with. Payroll was that in ’17, but your Social Security and FICA was more,“ Anderson said. “Perf was more with I understand but group insurance went down. Some of these figures don’t make sense to me but it’s what they used.“
Back in August the Vigo County council passed an increase to the income tax that would help pay for the new jail.
So, for now no new additional tax increases are planned.
“We have the tax money and the backup that we used will help to pay for all that stuff, so I think we are going to save money in the long run,“ Anderson said.
Commissioner Anderson said he believes a location will be picked in the next three weeks but the new jail itself will not be open until for least two years.
The current proposed jail locations are the location at Springhill Drive and Highway 63, the former golf course on Honey Creek Drive, the current jail location at the government complex and the former Thompson Honda building on 1st Street.
If you would like to see the jail operation study click here.