Mandan News

Site chosen for $50 million joint jail

The Burleigh County Commission decided Monday to place a $50 million jail at Apple Creek Road near Yegen Road. It also agreed to pay $477,500 in fees to design the jail before the June 10 jail election. Nearly 17 percent more of the total jail costs will be added to the design costs if voters approve a special half-cent sales tax to pay for the jail and a home rule charter.

Monday’s meeting was a joint session of the Burleigh and Morton county commissions. Morton County commissioners left the jail site selection up to Burleigh County, but delayed a decision about the jail design fees until all five of its commissioners could be present. The Morton County Commission will meet at 4 p.m. next Tuesday at its own courthouse.

Missing Monday night were Morton County Commissioners Ron Leingang and Jim Boehm. Morton County Commissioner Andy Zachmeier said the jail would be built in Bismarck and that the site was in Burleigh County’s jurisdiction.

Both commissions must agree to the design fees before design work can begin said Scott Fettig, who is partnering with Al Fitterer to design the jail.
The Burleigh County Commission chose the Apple Creek-Yegen Road site on a 4-1 vote, over a state Highway 10 location near Midwest Motor Express. Commissioner Mark Armstrong, who has opposed the use of sales tax money for the jail, voted no.

The commissioners decided on the more southern location because it would be less expensive, require less platting, need less site development and less utility work. The land for the jail is being donated by Burleigh County, said Jerry Woodcox, the Burleigh County Commission chairman.

In consulting with Morton County, it was determined both sites were about 71/2 miles away from Mandan, but the Apple Creek-Yegen Road site was more isolated for the jail. Fettig said soil boring tests would be done in the coming weeks to determine if the Yegen site would be suitable to build the jail.

The vote was also 4-1 when Burleigh County commissioners agreed to the design fees. Armstrong again voted no.

Fettig said the designs will be ready for public viewing before March 1. They will be available on three-dimensional video, pamphlets, graphics and public presentations. Before the election, voters will be able to see floor plans, site plans and exterior models of the jail.

More detailed building plans would be prepared if the project goes to bid after the June 10 election.

If Morton County also agrees to the design fees, the costs will be split with Burleigh County paying about 87 percent of the costs and Morton County the rest.

The total jail costs will be split 87-13. If voters from both counties approve the sales tax and home rule charters.
Neither county can issue a sales tax unless the home rule charter is approved. Commissioners from both counties plan to end the half-cent sales tax once the jail is paid for.

By LeAnn Eckroth, Lee News