NOBLESVILLE, Ind. – The Hamilton County Council recently approved funding to add more beds at the jail and additional space for the county’s judicial services at the government center.
The jail, which has had overcrowding issues for years, will get an additional 120 beds and the infrastructure to add 120 more in the future. The project will cost $13 million.
County Commissioner Steve Dillinger did not vote for that plan, but instead was pushing for 240 additional beds at the jail.
“I felt like if we were going to do it we need to do it right and do it once, because the projections we were shown kind of proves with the growth and everything we will outgrow that (expansion) in 7 years,” Dillinger said.
However, Hamilton County Council President Fred Glynn said if the county decided to build all 240 beds right away, there was a chance they would have to raise taxes.
“The council is very committed to making sure the tax levy does not change, does not go up,” Glynn said.
Dillinger said going with the 240 bed option would only cost an additional $4 million now, compared to possibly $7 million down the line.
“The cost of that bond right now is terribly inexpensive and to do the construction now as opposed to doing it ten years from now, the cost is enormously different,” he explained.
Glynn said some council members were concerned about building for future growth.
A decade ago the county built a new juvenile detention center, but due to new reform systems and other techniques the facility sat nearly empty until the sheriff modified it to house adult female inmates in 2016.
Glynn added with the county’s probation system and work release program, the demand for jail cells might not be as high in the future.
“Basically everything we’ve been sold on up to now is that it’s going to decrease the jail population so we had to take that in mind as well when we were approving these beds,” he said.
The county council also approved $25 million for an expansion at the county government center.
The new judicial services facility will be just west of the current government center and will include amenities for the new River Walk Trail in downtown Noblesville.
"There will be restrooms back there, there will be a nice patio area. I think it will be a good addition to that community and represent out county seat well for the community," Glynn said.
Construction on both projects is expected to begin in 2018 and take about two years to complete.