Commissioners propose levy to fund new $155 million jail

Commissioners propose levy to fund new $155 million jail

LUCAS COUNTY, OH (WTOL) - The Lucas County Commissioners are unveiling details about the levy they hope will fund a new jail.

County leaders presented the 1.37 mil, 37-year levy for the site on N. Detroit Avenue to the Lucas County Citizens Review Committee on Friday.

The levy averages out to 48 dollars a year for a 100 thousand dollar home.

Committee members were able to ask questions about the levy to the Commissioners and Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp.

After the discussion, the committee unanimously voted to support the ballot measure.

The jail is expected to cost around $155 million.

There are also plans for an $18 million behavioral health solution center. This would be built at a different location.

County leaders say right now they are looking at opens tracts of land they already own.

Andrea Price, with the Lucas County Citizens Levy Review Committee, says she wasn't as focused on the location today, but more on how county leaders plan on handling your money.

She believes neighbors will come around and support the levy if they believe this is really needed.

Price says her main compliant is she wanted to see more financial information today.

"We're asking people to support a levy for that number of years, I think we owe them, 'what is the budget? what is the ROI? when is it going to be paid off?' and so that is the only thing that I would suggest be added," said Price.

Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp says for him this is about the hundreds of employees he has working for him every day.

He says the current jail conditions are not safe, and they deserve better.

"The employees in our correction facility, they're citizens too. They're citizens of Lucas County, we need to treat them well. We need to be able to have the safest facility we can possibly build," said Tharp.

Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken says he believes the situation this year is much better than where they were last year. But, he realizes they still must convince the voters.

"Any new money is always hard and we have to make a case to them. We have to earn their trust to do this, but it's not about trusting just the commissioners, the sheriff, it's about trusting a system that's changed, a system that is a benefit to them at 4 dollars a month and a system that protects 300-400 people that are doing the most tough and frustrating work in the community," said Gerken.

Gerken believes at the end of the day, voters will support those who are working in the jail.

The Lucas County Auditor's office must review the proposal, and then the Commissioners have to vote to approve the levy before it goes on the ballot.

Then taxpayers could be making the decision in November.

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