Commissioners approve lease agreement for new jail

May 9—ANDERSON — The Madison County Board of Commissioners has approved a lease agreement for construction of the new jail.

Commissioners voted Thursday to approve the lease with the building corporation for construction of the 528-bed jail at an estimated $103 million.

Attorney Adam Steuerwald with Indianapolis law firm Barnes & Thornburg explained that the bond to pay for the construction of the jail is not to exceed $95 million for a term of 20 years at a maximum interest rate of 5.5%.

He said the building corporation will issue the bonds and will lease the Madison County Government Center, Dispatch Center and existing jail to pay for construction of the new jail until completed.

After the new facility is completed, ownership of the Madison County Government Center, dispatch center and current jail will revert back to the county, according to Steuerwald.

The new jail is to have 528 beds, including 144 in a dormitory setting.

The county is scheduled to receive bids for construction in June and sale bonds in July. Construction could start in August and will take two years to complete. The jail should be operational by the end of 2026.

In other news from the commissioners meeting:

The commissioners continued to mull a new property tax rate for the cumulative bridge fund. Action on the new bridge fund tax rate has been set for May 21.

County Engineer Jessica Bastin said previously that the current rate is 6.5 cents per $100 of assessed value and the maximum allowed by law is 10 cents. The current tax generates $3.1 million and each half-cent of the property tax rate raises an estimated $190,000, she explained.

Bastin said Madison County has 220 bridges and the estimated cost to repair and replace the current structures is $17.6 million. The county has 198 small structures between 5 and 20 feet long, she said, and 75% of those need maintenance work over the next decade.

Commissioner John Richwine said the cumulative bridge fund tax rate has been advertised at the maximum amount of 10 cents per $100 of assessed value.

The commissioners are seeking to raise the property tax rate in annual increments, he said.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.