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Ellsworth jail one step closer

ELLSWORTH — Pierce County Board unanimously approved the new jail’s final design Tuesday, forwarding the project to the Ellsworth Village Board for consideration Monday night.

The total projected budget is $17,950,290.

Exactly how this would affect taxpayers won’t be known until construction bids are finalized, county officials said. Bid solicitation and awards are slated for February and March, with construction set to occur April 2016 through May 2017. Occupancy is slated for summer 2017.

In April, members of Finance and Personnel authorized borrowing not to exceed $19 million for the project through the issuance and sale of general obligation bonds. The estimated interest rate is 3.64 percent and projected tax levy increase in 2017 is $36.50 for a property of $100,000 in equalized valuation. The projected tax levy increase for the entire 15-year length of the borrowing period is $914 per $100,000 in equalized valuation.

The 55,600-square-foot facility will house a 16,565-square-foot, 80-bed jail pod with potential to expand to 120 beds, a 15,347-square-foot jail administration area, 16,869-square-foot sheriff’s department and a 3,908-square-foot lobby, plus mechanical and electrical rooms. The building will be located at Highway 65 and Overlook Drive in Ellsworth.

Supervisor Cecil Bjork, River Falls, asked for projected annual maintenance costs. Lawson didn’t have the answer.

Supervisor Jon Aubart, River Falls, said the jail design team and ad hoc committees worked exceptionally hard on this project and should be proud.

“I think we have provided a jail design that will serve the needs of the county now and into the future,” Aubart said.

Supervisor Scott Bjork, River Falls, said the county is not spending any more on this project than it has to.

“My point I want to get across is I went at it from a very conservative standpoint,” Bjork said. “I knew we didn’t want to build a Taj Mahal. It’s a well-built facility without a lot of extras. For someone to sit here from the public and say, ‘Oh, they got everything they wanted,’ that’s not true.”

Supervisor Bill Schroeder, Hager City, was absent from the meeting.

Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in Febraury 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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