Sheriff’s Office Makes Ballot Push for New Jail, Millage in Alpena County

It’s a jail that looks like it has served its time and now the Alpena County Sheriff’s Office is pushing for voters to help get them a new one.

Residents of Alpena County will have the decision on whether or not they want to approve a 20 year millage this November.

The millage will help the county pay for a new $10 million jail facility.

“I was kind of iffy on it, but only because it would raise taxes,” Absentee Voter Leora Jacobs, explained.

Voters in Alpena County deciding if one mill for the next 20 years, about $50 per year on average, is worth it to pay for a new jail.

Voters like Leora Jacobs think it is.

“Health wise I don’t think it’s safe for those people to be working there. Cause if it was my kids, I wouldn’t want them working there,” Jacobs, added.

Others are still mulling their options.

“I know it probably needs to be upgraded, do i think it needs to be a lot larger? With that brings in maybe a different type of criminal, or different crimes, and with that brings in different people,” Alpena Resident Kris Conger, said.

Going through the halls of the 1950’s jail, it’s clear, its age is noticeable.

“When the initial jail was built it was intended for a 30 year plan, it’s now 61 years old. The structure is in pretty rough shape, we got blocks that are cracking we have a lot of old technology,” Jail Administrator Sgt. Scott Gagnon, explained.

Cracks in the foundation, battered holding cells, besides flaws in the structure, the sheriff’s office says the cramped spaces make for difficult work and living conditions.

They say more beds are needed for increases in population.

“A lot of what we’re needing is space, we are getting a higher influx of female inmates and trying to keep people separated can become very difficult for us,” Sgt. Gagnon, said.

It’s a proposal they need passed, the sheriff’s office will be offering public jail tours every Thursday night through October, before voters fill out ballots this November.