Jail, Jail and more Jail
Plan A, Plan B or Plan C or another Plan all together?
Although the amount of information given the public and even board members is quite limited, some questions come to mind. Presently the State of Wisconsin is carrying a huge debt. The previous Tommy T administration and the Republican Legislature had huge revenue as a result of extremely good economic times. They did not reduce property tax, they increased it. They did not reduce income tax. Wisconsin is the third highest taxed state in the Nation. Additionally, Tommy T. went around the state giving corporations $ 20 million here, $30 million there. How much this was in total is unknown, hidden in “the books”. (the grateful recipients gave generously to republican campaign coffers) This of course helped line his “war chest” but we paid for it.. We do need public ally financed campaigns. The administration also went into schemes, using un-received revenue to make it appear there was money in budget when in fact there was not. ( I do not know why these Republicans call themselves “conservative”.)
The Legislature has a constitutional command to oversee these matters and they failed.
At any rate, presently money is short!
Now, Shawano County will likely receive a lot less money from the State of Wisconsin to run mandatory and needed programs. It is not a time to go into an expensive building project. Already, we have a Social Services housing crisis. Many areas need long range planning.
We have the “extra jail” which is bringing in some revenue, however the Bond is due in the amount of $4,500,000.00 (Four million Five hundred thousand dollars.)
There is only one “kitchen” for the two jails. Presently it is planned to attach this “Food Service” to the Jail on Main Street. The food would be catered to the other jail from here. However, in looking at the plan, there is no room for Simi Trucks to deliver. Main Street is to the east, and the river to the north. The “added” jail to the west. Were they planning to deliver by barge and ice boat?
A vehicle will need to be available to transport this food timely and hygienically. A “garage” for the vehicle here would also provide a loading area during nasty weather.
Than, there is limited storage space, I have no idea how much walk in cooler space is planned, but it should be quite large.
How many prisoners, maximum, would both jails hold? How much room is needed to house a weeks supply of food for these prisoners? Snow, holidays, buying in quantity, storage space is an essential need. Of course back up generation of electricity to run these storage devices is needed.
Perhaps it would be wise to consider building the “Food Service” at the extra jail site. Than, if that jail is used for Shawano County exclusively, all will be in position. This could happen in five or ten years. At that time the present jail would be used only for holding prisoners at trial or awaiting a hearing. This would free up areas for administration.
Another idea is food preparation at another site. Maple lane? Or from private enterprise?
Administration space seems to be a continuing problem. It seems the sheriff dept could utilize court house facilities for this matter. With Intranet, continuous communication is possible even at far distances. (across the street would not be a problem at all) Other non Judicial agencies could be housed in leased quarters, until the County has a plan and begins to build to accommodate these needs. (Who has been planning ? This growth should have been considered twenty years ago.)
Long Range planning should consider housing for the various departments of Shawano County. Many of these agencies do not need to be in the court house at all. However a central location may be useful. Consideration of purchase of properties “down town” on main street may be beneficial for all concerned. As a Mall is likely soon, rather than fight to get people to “come back to main street”, the useable buildings could be used for county and city government. Many of these buildings are a hazard and should be razed. By purchasing these buildings, the owners could relocate in the anticipated Mall, and continue their livelihood.
I think the people need to know more about this Jail matter as well as other “housing needs”. Perhaps the County Planner has already considered these problems. What does that department have to say?