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'It's a necessary evil': Platte County jail expansion heads to vote amidst funding controversy

Platte County jail expansion heads to vote amidst funding controversy
Posted at 6:08 AM, Jul 10, 2024

PLATTE CITY, Mo. — Next month, residents of Platte County will head to the polls to vote on the future of the county jail.

While there is broad support for the need to address overcrowding and improve conditions at the jail, many residents like Stan Selix have questions on how the project should be financed.

“I think we're taxed too much already," Selix said. "But in a case like this I'd be all for that simply because it's for law enforcement and I'm behind law enforcement 100%.”

The proposal involves expanding the existing facility to accommodate the growing inmate population. The jail expanded to house 180 inmates has housed nearly up to 210, creating a safety issue for not only the inmates, but also the staff.

“We have inmates housed in other jails in other counties, which is costing the taxpayer's money every day," Commissioner Scott Fricker said.

Fricker who opposed the plan back in 2019, has recently championed the new plan.

“I didn't know any of the details of the proposal in 2019. I learned about it maybe a week before the election and not knowing anything about it I just voted against it," Fricker said.

Voters in August will see two items on the ballot. One question asking them to decide on taking out $85 million dollars in bonds to pay for the jail, another asking to add a half-cent sales tax for 20 years to help pay off the bonds.

“If it's a necessary evil, then I would definitely be for it," Christopher Johnson said. "If it's going to clean up our streets and keep things safer for its residents, then I would definitely vote yes on that.”

While the plan failed to pass in 2019, county officials are making sure residents are well informed about the sales tax. There will be forums to help community members.

  • Platte County Federated Women's Club will meet Monday, July 15 at 5:30 p.m. at 10015 North Ambassador Dr., Suite 206.
  • Parkville Living Center will meet at 6:30 p.m.

The County also asks residents to keep up with their social media for updates.