At last nights County Council meeting there was an item introduced to consider starting over on the entire Whatcom County Jail study, the $7 million dollar property that has been secured to build the future new jail upon, everything that Whatcom County taxpayers have spent millions of our hard earned dollars to move this project forward is at risk of being wasted.
The Council voted 7 – 0 to reconsider the entire matter. What does that mean to you? Hundreds of thousands of dollars to do another study. A committee to study the issue that will be selected entirely by the current council members (elections do have consequences). Potentially selling the $7 million site that the County has purchased for the future site of a new Whatcom County jail. The last site they had put escrow upon and were planning to purchase was passed-on and is now owned by the Lummi Business Council and has been approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to be trust land. Trust land is exempted from and does not contribute to the Whatcom County property tax base. The inmates and County employees will continue to work in an unsafe building, with failing equipment, and great potential for catastrophic occurrences to themselves.
Whatcom County has been working on this issue for over a decade as the costs continue to rise. It’s way past time to fix this issue, and starting from ground zero is not acceptable!
Shame on the Council for caving into those who would have you think that this issue can be fixed with another study, an inadequate facility to house the inmates, and fear-monger the public that building a facility that meets the needs of the community is a road to filling it up with innocents. WC Jail Resolution AB2016-072
Council action will not be taken. The council may accept these items for introduction (no action) in a single motion. Changes, in terms of committee assignment for example, may be made at this time.
1. Resolution adopting a Statement of Incarceration Prevention, Criminal Justice, and Jail Planning Principles for Whatcom County’s criminal justice and behavioral health systems (AB2016-072)