Utah prison relocation: Boondoggle or economic boon?

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 19 2013 7:50 p.m. MST

The bill currently calls for a 10-member committee, including representatives from the state Department of Corrections, the Governor's Office of Economic Development, and two each from the real estate and construction industries, all appointed by the governor. The House and Senate would appoint one member each, while Draper would provide two.

Sanpete County Commissioner Jon Cox said he doesn't oppose the project, but said he has concerns about the makeup of the board. Rural counties should be represented because many of them house state prison inmates, he said.

Herbert said it's important whatever is done with the prison should be in the best interest of taxpayers and that there is an economic opportunity to provide tax revenue that helps pay for public education.

Resident Lee Ann Walker sees it as a moneymaker for land developers.

"This is bad any way you look at it," she said. "This money should be going into the schools."

Jenkins said he doesn't see it as windfall for developers if it is done correctly.

The governor said he has no preconceived notions about the project.

"I expect there is more than one way to skin a cat. There are probably a number of proposals out there that would make some sense," Herbert said. "And if they don't make sense on behalf of that taxpayers, we ought to not do it or at least delay it."

Contributing: Lisa Riley Roche

E-mail: romboy@desnews.com

Twitter: dennisromboy

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