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A New Facility is Fiscally Responsible

By Staff | Feb 17, 2021

To the Editor:

I am asking for your support in the upcoming bond referendum for the new Palo Alto County Public Safety Center. I would like to take a moment to address a few of the questions I have been asked.

Why build new? Why not just house inmates in one of the surrounding county jails? Seems simple until you take the following into consideration. What will happen when surrounding counties decide they don’t want to house a certain inmate for whatever reason? What do you do with an inmate when the weather doesn’t allow for travel to a surrounding county? There are also safety concerns involved with transporting inmates.

Another consideration is the amount of county money that is paid to the counties to house the inmates, along with the expense to transporting the inmate. Keeping this money in Palo Alto County is being fiscally responsible to the county taxpayers.

Why now? I’ll answer that in two parts. First, it began with Sheriff Schultes taking the initiative to push for the project and getting it moving forward. Without his initiative, the project would still be just a dream. Second, there is no better time than now. It has been determined that the project will be paid for by TIF money from the wind turbines. This means there will be NO increase in property taxes to the residents of Palo Alto County.

I’d like to address a few of the concerns with the current structure. The current structure has exposed water lines. A water line has been pulled down by a female inmate causing flooding in the cell. The water also ran down into the area where the male inmates are housed. A male inmate has pulled the radiator off the wall in his cell. The water lines and heating system in the current jail are not only a safety concern for inmates and staff, they are also a liability for the county.

These are just a few of the many reasons there is a true need for the new Palo Alto County Public Safety Center. This can’t happen without the support of the citizens of Palo Alto County. Please vote “Yes” on March 2. For more information, please visit the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office website (www.paloaltosheriff.com) and click on the Public Safety Facility tab.

Thank you for your time.

(signed) Seth Nelson, Lieutenant

Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office