The controversy over possible construction of a prison by Ogden-based Management Training Corp. cooled after Fillmore voters turned down the proposition earlier this month, but the issue is back on the front burner.
Millard County residents are being invited to comment at two public meetings on the idea of building a prison in another location in the county, possibly near McCormick about midway between Fillmore and Delta, or in west Millard County.The first meeting was Tuesday night. The second meeting is set for 8 p.m. Thursday at the Millard High School auditorium in Fillmore.
MTC is in the running to build and operate a 500-bed prison for the state, possibly expanding to house up to 1,000 inmates. It would initially employ more than 100 people.
That's why some Millard County residents want the facility. MTC director of marketing and corrections, Michael E. Murphy, estimated the prison would provide an annual payroll of $3.5 million with some 80 percent of the employees hired locally at a wage of about $10 an hour.
Those who have been opposed to a prison being built in the county say they fear for the safety of residents, that it could cost the county to prosecute crimes that might occur within the prison and that some families of inmates might move to the area and possibly add to welfare rolls.
In a nonbinding referendum on the prison issue this month, a majority of Fillmore residents (56 percent) opposed building a prison there. A majority of Fillmore voters in the referendum also turned thumbs down on the idea of the city bonding for the project.
The Millard County Commission indicated it would support another location and perhaps use its bonding authority to help MTC finance the project, which has an estimated price tag of $20 million.
Management Training Corp. officials prefer a prison site in Millard County to other locations in the state but say they don't want to build it where there is opposition by a majority of the area residents.
A site of about 50 acres would be needed.
MTC currently operates a center in Utah for inmates who will soon be released. It also owns and operates facilities in other states.