Supervisors want Justice Center vote on May 7


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The Johnson County Board of Supervisors has tentatively set May 7 as the next date to vote on a smaller proposed justice center.

During a board meeting Thursday at the Johnson County Administration Building, the supervisors said they would vote Feb. 14 to set the election date.

The new proposal calls for a $46.2 million project that will include a 195-bed jail and court space. It will ask voters for a $43.5 million bond issue to finance it. The original 243-bed proposal garnered 56 percent of votes in November, but need a 60 percent supermajority to pass.

Supervisor Terrence Neuzil said the May 7 date was chosen based on a number of factors. The ballot language will carry over from the original proposal.

“The primary reasons include first and foremost, the issues fresh in the minds of voters,” he said. “The other reasons included the fact that the University of Iowa students are still in town, and we wanted to be able to get the students to participate. The cost of the project will continue to rise the longer we wait.”

Additional cost savings include decreasing the number of courtrooms from six to four, adding more masonry to the exterior rather than glass, and having the county put forth $2.7 million toward final construction costs, up from the original $1.3 million.

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