By Mike Thayer
We simply don't know enough about the Johnson County proposal for a new jail and courthouse to vote 'yes' on it in November.
Some serious detailed questions need to be asked. It should be noted that the Johnson County Democrats have unwisely endorsed the justice center ballot issue, without it seems, asking some pointed questions. With blinders on, local Democrat *leaders* have given the green light to a project the public is being spoon fed selected information on. We aren't being given the who, what, where, why stuff. Tours of the current jail is a nice marketing idea, but the public isn't being told about what's really going into the new jail and why. We're just told we need it, how many beds it has and how nice it will be to have a few more courtrooms.
Why $46.8 million? Why 243 beds? Why six courtooms and not five? What is the expected prisoner load in 2, 3, 5 years? Are there plans to rent out jail space? Will there be more staffing needs? What are the increased annual administrative and operational costs?
Coralville Courier sources already have the project getting a price tag hike, jumping up to $49.5 million.
County supervisors have some questions to answer.
Related: Johnson County Board of Supervisors Chairman Rod Sullivan on throwing 20,000 taxpayer dollars at the Regency Mobile Home Park: "We are dealing with a man who is chronically mentally ill, chronically alcoholic, chronically homeless and chronically unemployed. We are offering him a free lunch."