VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – The question remains, will a new jail be constructed in Vigo County? Discussions among local leaders are moving forward, but there’s still a lot of uncertainty.
Where will funding come from? New concerns also surround the location of the facility. On Friday afternoon News 10 sat down with one of the newest members of the Vigo County Council.
Brendan Kearns said his priority is keeping the taxpayers in mind. “You know, $70 million towards a community project, imagine what you could do. It’s a little intimidating. This is a monumental decision.”
The high price tag is just one reason why Kearns is struggling to move forward. He agrees there’s a need for a new facility but said there has to be another way to fund it.
“We’re talking about the working class people who get up and 6 a.m. and take their two kids to school. We’re talking about those who are barely making ends meet. If we keep taxing the working people of this community it’s going to make us less viable. We need to find the money versus creating a tax,” explained Kearns.
From finding the money to finding a location, the list of concerns continues to grow. The Industrial Park in southern Vigo County is the most recent proposed site. “I don’t understand how putting a new jail on the opposite side of town will be cost effective. It is no better than what we are doing right now, sending them to Clay or Vermillion County.”
Kearns believes the jail needs to be centrally located and close to the courthouse. Not only to cut down on costs but also for safety reasons. “When that state trooper has to transport that person all the way from Fontanet, for example, to the jail that’s almost an hour drive. You’re pulling away resources,” said Kearns.
Kearns added there are still too many unanswered questions, but said one thing is certain, the council is hoping to find a solution that works for everyone involved.
“I’m not going to be bullied into voting for something. As a steward for the taxpayers I need to do my part to make sure that it is being funded properly with the citizens in mind.”
Kearns said county leaders plan on holding a meeting for public comment. News 10 will update you when a date is scheduled.