Johnson County Voters Could Decide on Jail, Courthouse Next Year

By Mark Carlson, Reporter

The Johnson County Courthouse on Friday, August 23, 2013. (MARK CARLSON/KCRG-THE GAZETTE)

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By Aaron Hepker

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Another proposal to address space needs at the Johnson County Jail and courthouse could go before voters as early as next year, Johnson County chairwoman Janelle Rettig said Friday.

“I think the [the Board of Supervisors] will put together a plan by the end of this year,” said Rettig. “And that would be the next step.”

Rettig and supervisor Pat Harney held a public meeting with county residents at the Senior Center in downtown Iowa City Friday morning. The goal was to collect ideas from the public about how to fix the issues at the courthouse and jail, county officials said.

It’s not clear if the next proposal will be for a new jail, courthouse or both.

“Right now everything is on the table and we’re hearing a lot of different things,” said county attorney Janet Lyness, who attended the meeting.

The project will likely be scaled back from a Justice Center proposal that was voted down by voters late last year and again in the spring.

“We don’t know what it’s going to be at this point,” Rettig said. “But this issue has to be addressed.”

Jail officials said Friday they’re booking more inmates in recent weeks. The offenders aren’t students, officials said. Around 90 Johnson County inmates are currently in Muscatine, where many overflow inmates are held.
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