Jackson County voters to decide jail, sheriff’s office millage
Jackson County voters will go to the polls next month to decide on a millage increase to expand and renovate jail facilities and the sheriff’s office.
Jackson County operates two jail facilities: one for pre-trial detainees at the sheriff’s office and a separate building for those who’ve been sentenced.
The pre-trial facility is 70 years old and in severe disrepair.
Sheriff Gary Schuette says a 1-mill tax increase levied over 20 years would allow the county to build a new pre-detention site at its secondary jail location.
“Right now, it’s very difficult with the crowding issues we have and the limitations of this facility. If we can’t put people in jail that need to be in jail, that directly affects public safety,” Schuette said.
The proposal states that a portion of the millage may be distributed to a handful of local entities. Schuette says that’s required language on every county millage issue, and not a case of "sleight of hand.”
“People become upset when they read certain language that goes into the ballot proposal, and they start to question as to whether or not we’re actually doing it for the right purposes,” Schuette added. “And I can assure you that this millage is for the jail specifically.”
If approved, the millage would raise more than $5 million in its first year.
Schuette says it would pay for the operating costs of the jail, which will no longer be funded once a current millage expires at the end of this year.