Greene County to build new jail
- Published: January 30, 2023
After two failed attempts to levy funds for a new jail through sales tax, and nearly a year of decisions about finance, design and size, the Greene County Commissioners and sheriff’s office will break ground on a $61 million, 250-bed jail this spring.
The News recently spoke with Greene County Administrator Brandon Huddleson, who said the new jail will be located at the site that houses the Greene County Adult Detention Center, or ADC.
The current Greene County jail, which was built in 1969, has been under a federal consent decree, reducing the number of inmates that can be housed at the facility to 130. The separate ADC, built in 2000, contains 236 beds. A 2018 needs assessment completed by HDR suggested the county should abandon the jail and build a new facility to fit its needs.
The new jail, according to Huddleson, will feature a “progressive design,” and will be smaller than the 500-bed and 384-bed designs voted down by Greene County residents in 2020 and 2021. The new facility will replace the ADC and the Greene County Jail.
“Our average daily population is around 220 people,” Huddleson said. “After construction is completed, the ADC will be used for programming and overflow.”
The new jail was designed by Wachtel & McAnally, a Newark, Ohio, based architectural and planning firm. According to its website, Wachtel & McAnally has done projects for public and private sectors, including jail and school construction projects. The firm has built jails in 33 counties throughout Ohio, including facilities in neighboring Clark and Clinton counties.
The County will pay Wachtel and McAnally 7.5% of the project’s cost, not to exceed $3.8 million, according to minutes from the county commissioners’ Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, meeting.
At the Oct. 27, 2022, meeting, commissioners approved a contract with Danis Granger, a Dayton-based firm that will provide a “construction manager at-risk.” The firm will work with the architect and contractor to guarantee that the maximum price is not exceeded.
“This saves a lot of consternation, saves money, and saves time,” Huddleson said at the Oct. 27 meeting. “As the owner, we know what we are paying on day one.”
While both of the former designs would have been paid for through an additional 0.25% sales tax, the new construction is being funded through loans and payments from the general fund, Huddleson said. Breaking down the cost further, the County took out $30 million in loans, to be repaid over the next 30 years, a move the commissioners had been discussing since December 2021. The commissioners sold the $30 million jail bonds in April 2022.
“We will be paying about $1.7 million per year on the loans,” Huddleson said.
The other $31 million will come from the general fund, with $10 million as revenue replacement from American Rescue Plan Act dollars and $21 million coming from cash reserves. That money will be generated through the county’s sales tax revenue. The current Greene County sales tax rate is 6.75%.
Huddleson said the County is looking to break ground on the new jail in May or June, and the total construction time will be two years. While the ADC will be used for overflow and programming once the new jail is operational, there are currently no plans for the Greene County jail.