by Graham Sturgeon, co-editor

   The Shiawassee County Board of Commissioners voted, by a 5 to 1 margin, during the Committee of the Whole meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 6 to advance bond proposal language proposed by Sheriff Brian BeGole for a new county jail to the board’s Thursday, Feb. 7 meeting. If approved, the ballot language would be included on the Tuesday, May 7 ballot.

   Chairman Jeremy Root was absent for the Feb. 6 meeting, but the remaining six commissioners agreed to support the sheriff’s proposal, with the exception of Commissioner Gary Holzhausen. Commissioner Holzhausen agrees that the county needs a new jail, but said, “At least 30 percent of the people in the county are struggling to make ends meet and somebody’s got to support them, so I’m going to support that population.”

   Several commissioners expressed their support for the sheriff’s jail proposal during the Feb. 6 meeting.

      “As a commissioner and the finance chairman, I don’t want to spend the money, but sometimes you have to and this is one of those times,” explained Commissioner John Plowman. “The jail is a considerable expense, but the main part of why I am going to support this endeavor is because we have a sheriff and a sheriff’s department that is on board. I know it’s a lot of money, and I wish the board had $10 million in the bank to help them out, but I certainly support this.”

   Commissioner Marlene Webster shared that she supports the plan to build a new jail, but she reminded her fellow commissioners that the increased cost of operating a new jail must be taken into consideration, especially after the 20-year bond period expires. 

   “I know that we’ve talked about additional prisoners coming in, but we have to be very conscientious about making sure that any money made by the jail would be reserved for sustaining the addition operational and programming costs, which amount to a half-million dollars annually. We can’t forget about year 21.”

   More information regarding the jail proposal will be included in upcoming editions of The Independent.

Commissioners Support Sheriff’s Jail Bond Proposal was last modified: February 15th, 2019 by Karen Elford