Once again we are working our way through the Spokane County Detention Services Essential Public Facilities Siting Process. If this seems familiar, it is because we have been down this road before.
Because of Spokane County’s shifting ideas about what a new jail should look like, and where it should be located, the work involved in the process goes on and on, as does the amount of taxpayer dollars spent.
For some eight years, salaries amounting to over $100,000 a year have been paid to a sheriff’s lieutenant and a staff assistant. Both of these employees were reassigned and relocated from the sheriff’s office long ago to begin the process of building a new jail. Neither has dedicated much, if any, time to the law enforcement duties for which they were hired during the span of their reassignments.
In addition, Spokane County has paid over $1 million in consultant fees toward the siting and design process for a new detention facility, which is barely closer to construction now than it was some eight years ago.
It is time to vote on a new facility or abandon the process.