Bids Over Budget: Alpena County Sheriff’s Office to Scale Back Plans for New Jail

In 2017, Alpena County voters approved a millage to fund a more than $11 million new county jail.

Now, plans to build it are on hold.

It’s because initial bids to construct it came in close to $3 million over budget.

Though Alpena County Sheriff Steven Kieliszewski says they have no plans to go back to the voters. They are going to build a new jail and make sure that it comes within the $11.4 million budget.

“Those bids came in way over than what was expected,” Kieliszewski, said.

Sheriff Kieliszewski says highs cost of concrete and masonry work is largely to blame.

“On the east side of the state there isn’t an easy way to get here, we didn’t have any local bidders on the concrete and the masonry [part of the] project so we had to go outside the community to find someone,” Kieliszewski, explained.

After going up for bid again the county was able to get closer to their mark, but not all the way.

“We are still $937,000 over budget,” Kieliszewski, added.

Now they will likely cut down the proposed number of jail beds and even the size of the project itself.

“We reduced the beds to 108 maximum and now because the bids are still high we are looking at probably reducing the bed size and reducing the size of the jail, what those numbers are at this point in time we don’t know,” Kieliszewski, explained.

It’s still more beds than they have now.

The current jail house remains cramped and signs of it falling apart are apparent.

So even with the new jail being smaller than planned…

“No matter what we do, whatever we get is going to be a lot better than what we have right now,” Kieliszewski, said.

They were hoping to break ground this spring but that may be delayed.

The plans for the offices and work space side of the facility are still intact.