$11M jail millage approved for ballot

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette The Houghton County Board discusses wording for a ballot proposal for an expansion of the Houghton County Jail. The board approved language setting an estimated annual millage rate of .751 mills over 20 years for the $11 million expansion.

HOUGHTON — The language has been set on the millage request for an $11 million addition to the Houghton County Jail.

The Houghton County Board unanimously approved language for the ballot proposal at its monthly meeting Tuesday.

The 20-year millage would have an estimated annual rate of .751 mills. In 2019, the estimated millage would be .7439 mills.

The board approved placing a millage proposal on the ballot at its May meeting, but had yet to finalize the language and the millage rate.

The 64-bed jail addition would be built behind the courthouse at the site of a parking deck.

Commissioner Anton Pintar asked if there would be improvements made to drainage in the area. Water and mud had collected in the area, now used as a parking deck, during the June 17 flood.

Karin Cooper, project architect with U.P. Engineers & Architects, said the parking lot underneath would be removed, allowing them to revamp drainage.

At the May meeting, Cooper said construction accounted for about $8.5 million of the total cost. The jail addition was the largest expense at $6.5 million.

The existing jail would be renovated to be used for the county work camp. The district courtroom and offices around it would be rebuilt for greater efficiency. A new stairway leading to the court would also be added.