Salt Lake County's May 23 bond election to raise $12 million for construction of a minimum security jail near the Jordan River at 32nd South and 12th West was endorsed Tuesday by the board of governors of the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce Tuesday.
Board members spent little time discussing the project following a presentation by County Commission Chairman Mike Stewart and County Attorney David Yocom, apparently because the issue has received widespread media attention.Nobody wants to pay for a new jail, said Stewart, but the county has exhausted all alternatives in connection with its present jail in downtown Salt Lake City. He said the council already owns the land at 32nd South and 12th West and the cost of keeping a prisoner in the new facility will be about $15 per day less than in the present jail.
Stewart said locating a jail at that site has come under fire from nearby residents, and the South Salt Lake Planning and Zoning Commission voted against allowing a conditional-use permit that would allow the jail construction. However, the South Salt Lake City Council overturned that decision, setting up one final hearing on the matter.
Yocom said the jail will be located in a fairly remote area on land that originally was to be used for a park. However, the area didn't become populated as anticipated, so county officials decided to change the use.
It will be built on four acres of land and will fit into the community nicely, said Yocom. According to a bond election brochure distributed at the meeting, expensive monitoring and security devices won't be needed because those housed there will stay there are night and weekends and be in the community during the day on work release.
Stewart said two of the people living in the area have accepted a county offer to purchase their property, but the other 16 so far have refused.
If the issuance of bonds is approved, the owner of $70,000 property in the county will pay $3 additional in property taxes, the brochure said.