Weber County is ready to abandon its plan to put a $25 million jail at Defense Depot Ogden.
County commissioners said Tuesday they were unhappy about talks with Ogden, which controls the former defense installation."I have given up on Ogden," Commissioner Joe Ritchie said. "We've tried to negotiate, but there comes a time when negotiations no longer become effective negotiations."
Commissioner Bruce Anderson said all the county has been getting from the city is "never-never land" proposals.
Ogden Mayor Glenn Mecham said the negotiations are complex, but he thinks a deal still can be struck.
Weber County voters approved a $25 million bond in November to build an 800-bed jail. Since then Weber County has been negotiating with Ogden to obtain at least 15 acres at the former military supply depot.
The issue was complicated in February when Mecham enlarged the talks. He wants to change Ogden's municipal gardens into a much larger civic park.
Mecham proposed the county trade its old jail near the Municipal Park to the city. In exchange, the county would get land at DDO.
The deal is complicated because Weber County is still paying for a 10-year-old addition at the old jail and still owes $4.5 million.
Weber County Sheriff Brad Slater said the 300 beds in the old jail are needed for minimum-security prisoners. If he loses those 300 beds, he said, the county jail will become overcrowded again.
Adding 300 beds to the new jail would raise the cost approximately $5 million.
Commission Chairman Glen Burton said another problem is that the county doesn't have much time. It is under a court order because of overcrowding in its jail and already releases prisoners who would otherwise be held.
Burton said the county has to start spending the money from the jail bond issue soon. If it fails to spend 10 percent of it in six months, it will be penalized for earning more interest than bond rules allow.
The commissioners would not say where else they are looking at land for the jail.
The county already owns land adjacent to the Ogden Commercial & Industrial Park in western Ogden, and the commissioners said they will build the jail there if they can't find another site.