We decided to weigh in on the prospects of a new county jail, or in the words of Commissioner John Hammercheck, a new justice center. We spoke at the Commissioners’ meeting (4/8/21) and asked for the estimated costs and location for the new jail.
We are concerned that the Commissioners will increase property taxes using the 1.1 mills available under the inside millage [citizens do not get to vote on inside millage levies] to pay for at least a portion of the new facility.
Commissioner John Hamercheck gave us a wide range of estimated costs – $60 to $100 million. No decision has been made on the location of the new justice center, but the County does own the land across the street from the current jail. There have been no decisions made yet on how they are going to finance the construction of the new facility.
We shared with the Commissioners our research on the estimated number of people living in Lake County in poverty based on the U.S. Census Bureau 2019 statistics.
We also shared our research on the number of seniors that are projected to exceed their Housing Affordability Threshold of 30% by the year 2030.
We will communicate with the Lake County Budget Commission (Auditor, Prosecutor and Treasurer) to ask them to review the cash held in reserves by each of the non-profits that receive $270 million per year in taxpayer funding. (Federal, State and Local Funding). It makes no sense if these non-profits are holding on to excess cash for their “rainy day” fund, and the Lake County taxpayers have to ante up more money for the new justice center. It is our understanding that the Budget Commission has the authority to delay collection of property taxes until the non-profit has more reasonable cash reserves.
We keep hearing that we are “all in this together” on the Covid-19 “plandemic”, so that should also apply to paying for a new justice center.
We will keep all of our readers informed, when we hear more from the County officials.