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Saturday, January 6, 2018

Jail Bond Would Not Pass

The Guardian attended a meeting yesterday (Friday January 5, 2018) in the County Commissioners Meeting Room to hear a presentation from the DLR Group in support of a new $200MM jail project.  There was a good turnout of more than 30 people to hear what the good people from DLR had to say.

There is a very good article in the local paper today and here's a link:

Commissioners have come to the conclusion with the help of Concerned Citizens of Canyon County that chances of a jail bond passing are nil.  The questions that came to the surface are how do they decrease the costs of the jail and what are the defined needs for more jail beds.  Or, do commissioner go to a judge and seek a legal maneuver to get judicial confirmation to spend $200 MM on a new jail and put the cost on property tax rolls.  This has a whole host of questions and will no doubt spark a legal challenge that could hold up construction for years and years.

Our Sheriff has been reluctant to say how many actual beds are needed and what
classification of those beds (cells, dorm beds, high risk, low risk and other classification issues) other than to say he wants a new 1,000 bed jail and is unwilling to entertain any discussion about other options.

Meanwhile Comm. Rule came up with a jail addition with former Comm. Hanson that would have added more jail beds to the existing jail several years ago.  This solution did not come from thin air. Mr. Hanson was the jail commander for several years and his and Comm. Rules solution was well thought out.  They thought they could build this addition to the existing jail with with fund balances at a cost of $15MM.  This proposal would have added no additional property taxes to our tax bills. Fund balances is a polite way to say every department is over budgeted and end up returning funds to the general fund each year. 

Comm. Pam White came up with a proposal to fund a jail project via local option sales tax increase of 1/2 to 1 cent added onto our current sales tax to use for a new jail.  Problem with this is there is no current way to do this under current Idaho legislative guidance.  Only cities with less than 10,000 residents can use this option and are usually "resort towns" that have an influx of people who put a strain on small city resources and services.  Local option taxes in these resort cities go to pay for police, fire and other city services needed when these cities experience seasonal influxes of people.  More on this, when more becomes known on how it could be used to fund a new jail.

The best option we have heard is the Hanson/Rule option that could add an additional 280 beds onto the existing jail facility.  This same option could be used at the Vanburen school site.  The county has all but taken possession of Vanburen school property.  A single pod of new jail beds could be built on this property, the school building could be converted to courtrooms along with a host of options as the county grows and needs of county offices grows.  The one thing holding all this back is our Sheriff.  He will not discuss any options for more jail space short of a new jail at a huge cost to taxpayers.


  1. Every time I see that sheriff walking around in the courthouse with his huge black cowboy hat on his head it reminds me of Yosemite Sam. How did this guy ever get elected. Good manner dictate you don't wear a hat inside any building. Does he not understand good manners?

  2. I just paid my property taxes and I just gave any support for a jail to the county tax collector. How much do they really think we can support via property taxes. Also a pet peeve are school bonds. Caldwell just passed a 10 yr. $10 MM school bond for maintenance and operations! I thought when 90 day wonder boy Gov. Rish got another penny added to the sales tax that was supposed to go for M&O of schools. Seems like every time I turn around one entity or another with taxing power is picking my pocket. When do property taxpayers catch a break from all this? Local govt. loves property taxes. No matter what happens even with foreclosures, someone is going to pay the property taxes.

  3. This jail thing has been around since 2005 when the former sheriff went on a crusade to get a new jail. It didn't happen then due to the lies about it to taxpayers. The county got caught trying an illegal purchase and long story short, the next three bond efforts died at the polls.

    There is no way I can support a Taj Mahal jail for people we want to incarcerate. I saw the plan for this new jail and that is exactly what this is. My best advice is for all the cites and counties to get together and build a regional jail with those who use the jail getting to pay for the jail. Ada County is saying they are out of jail space and they will soon be clamoring for a big fat jail bond for their little piece of heaven new jail. I won't consider anything other than a regional facility, so don't bother me with anything less. It is an idea whose time has come. If each city or county pays for what they use perhaps we can bring a sense of reason to who and how much time people spend in jails. It gets down to just how much retribution can we afford.

  4. The only way to settle this is for the Commissioners and Sheriff to define what beds are needed and what the classification needs are. Then come to the voters for approval. Also, the evaluation of needs has to be done by the very people critical of what the Sheriff and Commissioners say for new jail beds. The truth of it will rise to the surface. Right now all we are hearing is "new jail" and "$200 million" to pay for it and 1,000 new jail beds.. Well the fact of the matter is a new jail, the cost of a new jail and saying we need 1,000 new jail beds does not pass the smell test.

  5. I don't trust Tom Dale, he will lie, cheat and do anything he can to get his way. You just wait and see, he will make some kind of an end run to spend all the money he can to get his way. We have monuments in Nampa to prove that. Just look at the Police building, Library, and the empty parking garage as examples of his efforts to go around voters and property taxpayers. It makes me ill every time I drive by these monuments to Tom.


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