Blog
Dallas County Law Enforcement Center

Friends, neighbors, and business associates,

I am posting this information to encourage participating in the voting process for the proposed Dallas County Law Enforcement center.  As many of you know, I have been working on this significant project for approximately five years.  Previous failed bond issue attempts did not resolve the county’s current and future space problems.  We as county tax payers can only expect to see the county’s need for space to escalate given our tremendous population increases.

A third party financing analysis was completed and found the county can save $22 million over thirty years building the facility rather than continuing to operate as is.  The transportation costs of moving prisoners to other facilities will continue to rapidly rise and put pressure on the general fund.  The analysis can be found on the web site detailed information.

The county’s current bond indebtedness will be rolling off of the tax roles in approximately 2 ½ years.  When that occurs, the tax levy rate will come back to the same level as is today…prior to the bond election.

Studies have been completed, sites reviewed (in Downtown Adel as well as neighboring properties and communities), design solutions discussed, and information provided to the board of supervisors.  The sheriff and board has, I believe, given this issue a tremendous amount of time and energy with the best interests of the Dallas County constituents in mind.

The bond question is to build The Dallas County Law Enforcement Center which will be located at the east Adel site where the previous bond issue was proposed.  The facility will house the sheriff’s administration functions, first appearance hearing room, inmate support spaces, jail, and jail support spaces.

Primary objectives of the board and sheriff’s department included the following:

The county population continues to grow placing pressure on the current jail and sheriff facilities.

The State jail inspectors have run out of patience given the current jail population is operating with a waiver.

Design a facility to take the county beyond 25 years and consider the impact of the tremendous growth occurring while doing so.

The facility must be efficient to serve those to whom the county is responsible.

The facility should have a public presence, but keep in mind the best use of tax payer money.  Lessons have been learned from previous attempts to simplify the building and become the best value for the tax payers.

The board has been in conversation with 5th Judicial judges to repurpose the existing jail into court rooms for satisfying the county’s growth in that area.

The need has been clearly explained and agreed to by the citizens.  Given the tremendous growth in the last 10 years, everyone understands the growth of county government which has to follow suite to serve the increased population.

This growth finds a need of approximately 56,670 square feet of sheriff’s administration space.  The jail component will house approx. 132 inmates.  Parking will need to be available for approximately 350 vehicles supporting these functions.

The county owns the property on which they have chosen to locate the facility.  The site is in the City of Adel city limits as required by the State of Iowa Code for elected officials.  They have the available utilities, and they have access to major county public highways.

The budget has been identified at $22,900,000 which includes the new construction, furnishing, equipment, and soft cost fees.  The bond asking is $22,900,000 to finance.  The bond is for a twenty year period.  This would result in an average tax increase on $200,000 of valuation, approximately $31.08/year.

This county is in the best financial shape of all 99 Iowa counties.  It can handle this project.

The bond election is Tuesday May 2nd.   A 60 % majority is required to move forward.

Please see the www.dallascountyvote.com web site for more detailed information.

Jerry Purdy, AIA, AEB