Burleigh County Approves New Jail Design Request | VideoJoel Porter | 12/3/2012
"Since January 10th of this year, we haven`t gone a night without having somebody outside of this facility. Housed outside this facility," Burleigh County Sheriff Pat Heinert said.
County Commissioner Mark Armstrong says he takes issue with the project, arguing there are simply too many unknown variables.
"We need to have a bigger discussion on this before we hire an architect for a facility that we don`t know how we`re going to pay for and where and when it`s going to be built."
Armstrong says the design request is premature since the county hasn`t decided on a building site for a new jail. Heinert, meanwhile, says it could be built on one of three county-owned lots. Two of them are near the Burleigh County Fairgrounds.
"Is it too early for the design phase? I don`t think so. The planning and design phase, they tell me, is well over a year," Heinert said.
"The input I get from the public is they don`t want new taxes. They don`t want us to create new taxes. They want us to look at ways we can lower taxes and that`s what concerns me," Armstrong said.
Funding for the new jail hinges on the state legislature changing the home rule charter, which would allow Burleigh County residents to vote on a new sales tax. Were that to fail, commissioners say the cost would fall to the taxpayers.
If the home rule charter doesn`t pass through the legislature, Burleigh County would need at least a 60 percent "Yes" vote on raising property taxes to pay for the jail.