Otsego County Proposes New Solution for Overcrowded Jail

A lot has changed in Otsego County over the past 54 years, but not the county jail.

For the past 25 years, the jail has seen overcrowding. Because of that, the county has more than 11,000 outstanding warrants they are unable to serve.

“We have 34 beds for a population of approximately 25,000,” said Cpt. Brian Webber, Otsego County Jail Administrator. “So our ratio, bed to resident ratio, is very small. It’s only about 1.3 beds per thousand residents of the county.”

Back in May, the county hoped to pass a millage for a justice complex that would include a new jail, but it was voted down by taxpayers for being too large and costing too much.

They’re proposing a new idea that would only include a new jail and sheriff’s office, totaling $15 million, which is down from $30 million for the justice complex.Vote No To Jail Sign

The new jail would also have 96 beds, but even then, it might not be enough.

“We need to try and get what we can get,” said Cpt. Webber. “We need to try and be fiscally responsible for the county residents. I believe it’s not too large or too small at the moment but only time will tell.”

There is still opposition to the current plan. The 20 year millage would cost county taxpayers $1.15 for every $1,000 of taxable value on their home.

“There’s always people that say not in my backyard or I don’t want to pay for it and I understand that,” said Kenneth Glasser, Otsego County Commission Chair. “Sometimes you have to hold your nose and vote for something you wouldn’t otherwise because you know you got to have it. I think that’s where we’re at and I think the community understands that.”

Voters will have to opportunity to decide on the plan on Nov. 2.

Categories: Election 2021, November 2021 Election