FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why is Barry County asking for a new jail and Sheriff’s office?
The facility was first built in 1972 (48 years ago), as a lock-up, and the last addition was made in 1996 (24 years ago). According to studies, the existing facility has reached the end of its useful life. Without substantial renovations, systems could fail beyond repair and cause the Sheriff to board out inmates to other counties at a cost per day. The Sheriff’s office requirements exceed the safe use of the available space, with many functions being done in the basement, which was intended for services and storage.
How will the project be paid for?
The maximum cost for the project is $25 million and would be paid for with a dedicated millage of .4501 mill tax over the next 25 years.
How much will it cost me?
A residential property with a taxable value of $50,000 (market value of $100,000) would pay, on average, $22.51 per year. The .4501 millage would start in 2021.
Where would the new Jail and Sheriff’s office be located?
County leaders are waiting to determine a location until after the election. Currently, there are three possible options:
At the current Sheriff’s Office location, as there is enough buildable area on the property, and the existing facility would be demolished after the new facility is complete.
The County could purchase a new property and sell the existing property after the new facility is complete.
Redevelop an existing vacant industrial building and sell the existing property after the new facility is complete.
If the bond is approved, these options will be vetted for what is the best interest for Barry County.
Can the Sheriff’s Office and Jail be located outside the city?
The Sheriff’s office is required by State statute to be within the city limits of the County seat (City of Hastings) in the State of Michigan.
Why can’t the Sheriff’s office go downtown and just build a smaller project for the jail?
Co-locating the jail and Sheriff’s office together allows for on-site back-up and incident response from within the building, which increases security and reduces staffing costs.
How long is the building expected to last?
The building will be designed and built to last greater than 50 years, assuming the current population growth and incarceration rates remain similar to recent trends.
How many beds will be in the new jail?
The current jail has 97 beds, and the new design is intended to start with an operating capacity of 110 inmates to keep the initial cost low. The design will also plan for future expansion flexibility to a maximum of 166 beds through planned additions and pod fit-outs if needed.
When will the project be complete and occupied?
The design process will take approximately nine to ten months, construction will take approximately 24 months, with a few months needed for moving in. Therefore, it is estimated the new facility will be occupied around mid to late 2023.
What studies have been done to determine the needs and size of a new facility?
The Barry County Board of Commissioners has been exploring cost-effective solutions for the facility since consultants completed studies in 2006, 2012, and 2015. Each study included multiple proposed options for additions and replacements.
Why isn’t the design done yet?
Further developed design solutions should respond to the site conditions. As a site will not be selected until after voters approve the ballot proposal, we should not move forward with design at this time. If the design moved forward at this time ahead of the election and Barry County voters do not approve the ballot proposal, the County would be responsible for paying for that service. Therefore, the preliminary design shown under the "New Facility" page is a diagram detailing modern jail best practices.
Does this millage proposal increase account for or go toward Sheriff and jail operational costs?
No, the millage proposal is for the capital cost of the building and equipment within it. The current operational millage will remain intact.