June 19, 2018

A bond referendum for a new Carroll County jail could soon appear on a ballot.

The Carroll County Board of Supervisors discussed the possibility Monday of a special election March 5 asking voters to approve a bond referendum to help pay for a new jail.

It’s unclear at this point how much the jail would cost, how much the referendum would be or how much, if at all, it would increase Carroll County residents’ property taxes.

The supervisors’ current plan is to build a new, two-story jail next to the Carroll County Courthouse to replace the current jail in the courthouse’s basement. The plan is a result of two years of study by a county Jail Committee, which recommended a 16,800-square-foot, two-story jail that would be built west of the courthouse, where there is currently a parking lot.

Barry Bruner, an attorney with the Bruner, Bruner and Reinhart law firm in Carroll, told the supervisors during their meeting Monday morning that he disagrees with the planned location for the new jail — and the current discussions about a referendum.

“I truly would ask you to step back and take the time to visit with the commercial interest, other governments,” Bruner said. “We need to talk between governments. The City of Carroll should have been involved more. Commercial districts should have been involved more. The judiciary needs to be involved more. This isn’t just a jail.”

The supervisors’ next step is to get bids from attorneys about the cost of structuring the bond referendum’s language. They’ll discuss that step at their next meeting, which will start at 9 a.m. Monday, June 25.

Although a special election would be held in March, the supervisors also have until August to choose instead to put the issue on the Nov. 6 general-election ballot, said Kourtney Irlbeck, Carroll County auditor and commissioner of elections.

In other news, the supervisors approved an ordinance requiring a $50 permit for anyone wanting to sell food, beverages or other items in unincorporated areas of Carroll County during the upcoming Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa ride that will go through Carroll County on July 23. Those planning to sell items need to pay the permit fee to the Carroll County Auditor’s Office by July 9.