FUNDING JAILS “Special Purpose Tax”

The percentage of the tax asked for should represent the annual monies needed to:  Make annual bond payments, increase operational costs, and additional staffing costs.  The bond payments will, or should, if you have a good construction manager include all the necessary costs to construct the jail: fees, furniture, capitalized interest, interest income, land, underwriting costs, issuance costs etc.  You can always lower the percentage when it’s time to pass the local ordinance but you cannot increase it.  So asking for somewhat more than you need is a good idea.

You need to have a good handle on all of these costs going into the request for a percentage (%) this coming November.  This takes a lot of experience from a construction manager.  It is not time to make good guessesIf not, the jail and its operation will be constricted during its life time.  Every county is different on the potential of income from these percentages so one “shoe” will not fit all.

I would use a proven law firm in Indianapolis to write the bill and lobby for it along the way.  Yes, it would seem expensive to do that, but experience has shown that if you go it alone your chances of success are greatly diminished.  I would also have a legislator who is well respected submit the bill and lobby for its success.  You only get a chance at this once a year.  In November you will be only one of many trying to get your bill passed, so go above and beyond in the effort.  If your successful, it will not take effect until July 1, 2019.  The council will have until the end of October to pass the ordinance.  Once passed, the income stream will start in January of 2020.  A construction manager should schedule the events to anticipate the income during design and construction and thus potentially minimize the bond amount.

If you intend to meet the November deadline on bill submittal, it is time now to get started in defining your needs and thus costs.  After 40 years in constructing jails, it has become as important as the actual construction to know all the funding options, how they all apply, schedules, all the pertinent laws, material suppliers, costs, architects and engineers who have experience in jail design if you expect to have a successful effort.