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1/30/2013 9:58:00 PM
New jail plan grows far past $12M estimate: Supervisors starting over, mull possible 'jail tax'
Scott Orr/The Daily Courier
Sheriff Scott Mascher makes his case to the Board of Supervisors at Wednesday’s retreat.
Scott Orr/The Daily Courier
Sheriff Scott Mascher makes his case to the Board of Supervisors at Wednesday’s retreat.
Scott Orr
The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT - When the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors gave the green light in May 2012 to preliminary planning for a new county jail to be located in Prescott, then-Supervisor Carol Springer said she felt that the facility could be built for about $12 million, a number that the board accepted as realistic.

But, Sheriff Scott Mascher said Wednesday at the board's retreat that the project has grown as more and more features were added to what was supposed to be a basic jail. The price tag has grown as well, to the point that the supervisors contemplated the need for an additional sales tax to finance the project.

"I was at that meeting," Supervisor Craig Brown said, "I was in the audience" - he hadn't yet been elected - "and (Springer) said $12 million, period. Now, you're coming to me and saying it's something else."

Capital Improvements Coordinator Jim Holst said the project as it stands could cost "in the neighborhood of $20 million."

"It was turning into a justice center," Supervisor Tom Thurman said, adding that Mascher had come to him, concerned that he hadn't asked for that.

"We knew the five-member board was coming," Chairman Chip Davis said, "and we felt it was not appropriate to go into detailed planning" until the new members were in place.

"The process was hijacked," he continued, by the "courts systems, the probation system, the juvenile court system - it just got out of hand. Now we're basically starting over."

Mascher agreed. "It got to where I was in disagreement with how it was coming about," he said. Eventually, he added, the plan would have been for a facility about the same size as the Camp Verde jail, with a much larger price tag than he expected.

"So (we) regrouped, and we determined what we needed and what we wanted to do," Mascher said, noting that he had requested a 240- to 300-bed jail.

Thurman said he and Mascher had agreed to "slow the process down," but that the $12 million figure was "throwing mud at the wall to see what would stick."

He said the Juvenile Justice Center, which was built for roughly the $12 million figure Springer quoted, was started when the economy was worse, when contractors needed to keep their people working and would take on projects for less money.

"Things are getting better (now), and I don't see how we're going to get contractors to be doing these things for cost only (anymore)," Thurman said. "I would estimate it's now in the $15 million to $18 million range, and I'm going to tell you right now, we don't have it."

He said the only way to get the project done was to generate more revenue.

"We need to really get serious about going back to the public and saying, 'We really need that quarter-cent or half-cent (tax) if you want a jail,'" he said.

Thurman added that the board needed to have an architect design the building so it could get an accurate estimate of the cost to build a jail.

Supervisor Rowle Simmons echoed those comments. "We can't go to the public and say, 'Well, we think we may need $15 million to $18 million, but it could be $20 million.'"

Davis said the topic would be placed on a future board agenda, when they could discuss it and vote.

Related Stories:
• Editorial: Get back to the basics for new jail


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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, February 01, 2013
Article comment by: RE: Internal Affairs

I will be contacting you next week.

Posted: Friday, February 01, 2013
Article comment by: Matthew Burdick

Business as usual.

Contract overruns to government contractors at taxpayer expense and higher taxes.


Posted: Friday, February 01, 2013
Article comment by: Jack May

Message to Prescott merchants. "Increase the sales tax and no one will come".

After all Prescott Valley has plenty of good shopping and offers a solid alternative to paying outrageous sales taxes.


Posted: Friday, February 01, 2013
Article comment by: Build it. They are already here.

The rusty Prescott Jail, a former hospital and former school, sits on a small footprint of real estate downtown that cannot accommodate a jail of sufficient capacity, let alone parking. Even if that were not the case, and it is, the facility is so antiquated that bringing it up to Dept. of Justice standards would cost more than building a replacement on the far larger plot of county land slated for the new jail.

A modern jail has long been needed on our side of the county. The sheriff was correct, and took a huge political risk by the way, in publicly opposing other county departments that are trying to piggyback their own new offices and facilities onto the much needed jail.

Stop ragging on the sheriff. The BOS needs to get the jail built, finally and asap, and tell all the other departments they won't be getting the slick new digs they merely WANT because Prescott desperately NEEDS a new jail. This need would remain, by the way, even if marijuana was legalized and every rehab in town was shuttered.

It is hardly "cheap" for YCSO to ferry well-supervised inmates in gas guzzling buses between Prescott and Camp Verde for incarceration and court appearances. And I dare anyone to put a price on the lives of the three fine men who died on their way to work in Camp Verde after the Prescott jail closed.






Posted: Friday, February 01, 2013
Article comment by: Can someone please explain

where the Sheriff came up with his comment that the process was hijacked, among others, by juvenile probation? This conty has just opened a beautiful Juvenile Justice Center and JPO has never had any space or anything to do with the adult jail. I think many would be interested in knowing if this true, or if the sheriff is just looking to blame other agencies for this issue. . . in which case, someone should call him on it.

Posted: Friday, February 01, 2013
Article comment by: To: Concerned Taxpayer

If you truly know a jail "Sergeant who runs his own business on county time" please do call the sheriff's office and report the violator. The SO internal affairs section exists to ferret out such wrong activities and certainly would be receptive to receiving legitimate information about such activities. Contact information: (928) 771-3260
web.sheriff@co.yavapai.az.us
 


Posted: Friday, February 01, 2013
Article comment by: Reading 101

Read the article, folks. You can read can't you? To quote the article, "But, Sheriff Scott Mascher said Wednesday at the board's retreat that the project has grown as more and more features were added to what The article also says, "The process was hijacked," he [Chairman Chip Davis] continued, by the "courts systems, the probation system, the juvenile court system - it just got out of hand. Now we're basically starting over."

Mascher agreed. "It got to where I was in disagreement with how it was coming about," he said. Eventually, he added, the plan would have been for a facility about the same size as the Camp Verde jail, with a much larger price tag than he expected.

"So (we) regrouped, and we determined what we needed and what we wanted to do," Mascher said, noting that he had requested a 240- to 300-bed jail.

I don't believe that the article in any way portrays the problem being laid at the Sheriff's feet.


Posted: Friday, February 01, 2013
Article comment by: I > U

I told you so...

But weren't you all just recently singing Mascher's praises because of his pro-gun stand?? I tried to tell you that you weren't going to like it when he arbitrarily decides to do things you disagree with. Don't think for one second he didn't plan that in order to build a little political goodwill before he dropped this boondoggle on you.

I don't know why you people don't listen to what I tell you. There's a reason I use the name I use...


Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Article comment by: @Tom Babbit

Some things are just too obvious, but the elephant in the room that our Supervisors could not see (well, some of them anyway.)

I agree. No jail for violation of the marijuana prohibition.

Now what does smaller size of the facility do to the budget?


Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Article comment by: No To Tax Increases, for any purpose whatsoever!

No Tax Increases, period! NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO and in the event you still don't get the message: nee, naï, votch, na, nann, né, nej, ei, non, nanni, nein, ohi, ʻ aole, lo, nahin, nem, tidak, iié, ahneo, thay, neen, ugui, minime, kheyr, niet, não, aiwa, siyo, nej, cha, nage--and in the event it still isn't clear in your tax-fixated minds, a reference: http://www.freelang.net/expressions/no.php

Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Article comment by: Concerned Taxpayer

Maybe the Sheriff can save money by eliminating some of the overpaid jail staff he employs. Example: how about a Sergeant who runs his own business on county time. I wish I could find a company to work for and at the same time run my business on the company time and the tax payer’s dollar. And really, how much would it cost to upgrade the old Prescott jail to the satisfaction of the Federal Government. I understand the time is good to build now, but is it truly necessary to build a large jail in Prescott? Is the Camp Verde jail bursting at the seams with inmates? No on a new tax!

Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Babbitt

The solution is simple eliminate the anti drug cult and you eliminate the need for a new jail.

Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Article comment by: Truth Please

LOL LOL You are getting EXACTLY what you deserve!!! Elect people who are bought and paid for by the elite and then complain? Boo hoo

Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Article comment by: dog bone

The board of supervisor could of stopped Waugh from moving the jail. Don't blame the new sheriff for what he walked into. We need a jail, I would vote for a 1 cent sales tax but not if it is being put on property taxes. Do lightened up on the new sheriff and put the blame where it belonged when the old sheriff and BOS was in office.

Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

Gas is cheap. It's not far to Camp Verde. Everything costs more than it costs. NIMBY. When people smell government spending they think DEEP POCKETS.

Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Article comment by: Bravo @Math Major

** S-L-O-W ** C-L-A-P **

Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Article comment by: @ More Informed

If you are more informed, tell us the cost of bringing the old jail back up to speed. It was Sheriff Mascher who told us it was not a viable option. I would like to know how much not a viable option we are talking in exact costs.

Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Article comment by: Tongue-in-Cheek .

A fine example of our station in life is to study your electric bill. There is "a" charge for energy used, then most of the rest of the bill is a long list of a tax for this and a tax for that, tax, tax, tax. These politicians are akin to my kids, I have learned they can always spend a whole lot more than I can give them. Somewhere, the voting public needs to "JUST SAY NO" and stop the addiction to OUR money. Each time they vote themselves more of MY money, I have to cut back somewhere, why can't they take the first cut back steps?

Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Article comment by: Math Major

3 BOS @ $4MM = $12 Million

5 BOS @ $4MM = $20 Million

Pretty simple math: Just the same amount per Supervisor.

OR, the taxpayers could just send the bill for the excess $8MM to Carol Springer -- since "then-Supervisor Carol Springer said she felt that the facility could be built for about $12 million...."


Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Article comment by: In case you weren't aware...

It's not just criminals in jail. A goodly number of prisoners/inmates are poor slobs who are awaiting trial to determine if they're indeed a criminal.

Some people stay in jail waiting for their day of justice for YEARS!

Perhaps if money was spent on expediting justice instead of delaying it - we wouldn't need so many jails.

Also - there had been talk of using the jail less and using ankle bracelet technology to reduce costs and still allow "prisoners" to work and contribute to society. What ever became of that idea?


Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Article comment by: Dick Marley

Build the jail. Prescott is growing by leaps and bounds and along with the growth comes the criminal element. We have to house them and right now carting them back and forth to Camp Verde is EXPENSIVE

Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Article comment by: More Informed

Ok everyone, slow down and take a deep breath. Now, re-read the article.

Sheriff Mascher went to the BOS retreat and told them things were being added to the "jail" design that he had *NOT* requested.

Other political entities were putting their fingers in the pie and expanding the project beyond what was initially planned. "The process was hijacked," he (Supervisor Davis) continued, by the "courts systems, the probation system, the juvenile court system - it just got out of hand."

I think those that are upset with Sheriff Mascher about this situation are spewing their venom in the wrong direction.


Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Article comment by: No More

The "public" is tired of getting nickel and dimed to death!

Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Article comment by: Enough Already

Let's just send all of our criminals to Singapore. Enough said.

Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Article comment by: Not a luxury condo! Get over yourselves!

Forget the new tax. Open the old jail back up and rehab it for a hell of a lot less than 20 million. You all are just like the City of Prescott, you think all you need to do is tax, tax, tax and the citizens will put up with it. Get rid of the sheriff that wants all of these perks and get someone in with some sense.

A jail is not a luxury condo condo, it is there to punish the criminals. So get over your selves and do what is right for the taxpayers and it is not adding another tax on them.



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