Bond issues to build new law enforcement centers went before voters in three Iowa counties Tuesday. The largest was in Woodbury County, for $50-million, which passed. Voters also approved a bond issue for a law enforcement center in Guthrie County but rejected it in Monona County.
Woodbury County Supervisor Keith Radig says it could be two years before the new facility is built.
“So, immediate next step, of course, is move forward with design contracts, floor design,” Radig says. “We’re going to have to look at a local project manager for this project. We will work together with our financial adviser. We’ll be taking out the bonds some time in January.”
Since the new building may not be ready until 2022, Woodbury County Sheriff Dave Drew says there’s a chance the current jail’s worn heating, cooling and ventilation systems could fail.
“If it does, then I’m making phone calls across the state of Iowa to find bed space,” Drew says, “and that means a lot of transportation for our deputies and a lot of overtime.”
The bond issue won 57 percent support in Woodbury County, according to unofficial results, and the sheriff says it’s a triumph.
“I’m thrilled for our staff because they work in a tough environment,” Drew says. “I’m thrilled for the police department and more importantly, I’m thankful to the citizens who come out and always support public safety.”
Sheriff Drew is wrapping up his final year in office and says he’s delighted to be leaving on such a positive note.
“This is a huge deal. This is asking people to trust us on this project,” he says. “Though I’m not going to see it, I’m happy for all of my brothers and sisters in public safety.”
The current jail has 234 beds and is often filled to capacity. The new jail will have about 200 more beds and Drew says the next two years can’t come quickly enough.
Reporting by Katie Peikes at Iowa Public Radio and Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City