Too many unknown costs for Justice Center

Karen Fesler, 19 October 2012  •  Comments

Two years ago, Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek visited with me about his plans to put forth a ballot initative to build a new jail. Initially I supported this concept, but not so today.

In those two years, what originally was an new jail facility has evolved into a "Justice Center" with a retrofit being done to a 111-year-old courthouse attached to a new jail facility that is built near downtown Iowa City.

The $46.8 million bond issue before the voters on Nov. 6 is for a $48.1 million proposal to build this facility.

That is for construction only.

I believe the present jail needs to be replaced. There is plenty of information about the capacity of this new facility, but nothing about how much it will cost to run it.

I agree that the Johnson County Courthouse is too small and lacks adequate security. But does it make sense to renovate this building?

Why does this new facility need to be built in downtown Iowa City on some of the most expensive real estate in the County?

One needs to look no further than the Joint Emergency Communications Center to see what happens in Johnson County when a new facility is built without getting all of the facts up front.

I will be flipping my ballot and voting "no" on the Johnson County Justice Center.

Karen Fesler