The folks on the other side of the Jordan River are supporting South Salt Lake's resistance to siting a new jail facility for misdemeanor offenders at 33rd South and 12th West.
"I don't know if it will do any good or not. We don't know until we try," Mayor Brent Anderson said Friday.The so-called honor farm is a 350-bed facility that would house convicted misdemeanor offenders, such as bad-check writers and drunken drivers. A bond election is set May 23 for voters to approve - or deny - $12 million in bonding to pay for the proposed facility.
"Why should we put it there? That would put three (correctional facilities) in a couple mile radius," said Anderson.
Also in West Valley are two halfway houses and a juvenile detention center.
"We don't have any power," said Anderson. "But we're supporting (South Salt Lake) Mayor (Jim) Davis."
The City Council's vote Thursday night is more of a "we're behind you" move than one aimed at blocking construction.
Proponents maintain a new jail is needed to contend with overcrowding at the downtown maximum-security facility.
The existing jail underneath the Metropolitan Hall of Justice was built 23 years ago to house 300 inmates. Two expansions later, capacity was increased to 550 inmates.
County commissioners last year put a 550-inmate cap on jail population last year to stave off lawsuits about overcrowding. But up to 700 prisoners are in the jail, which holds defendants awaiting trial and those convicted and serving out their sentences.
"There's a need for a jail. That's obvious from past history. It just doesn't need to be there," Anderson said.
The City Council is supporting South Salt Lake Planning Commission's opposition to the jail. But South Salt Lake Council members overturned the planning commission's decision.
The South Salt Lake Board of Adjustments has yet to rule on an appeal by residents who oppose the jail.