Kenton Jail Costs Soar; Could Hit $50 Million


EDGEWOOD - The cost of Kenton County's planned jail could soar to as much as $50 million, nearly $10 million more than the county had planned to spend, reports NKY. COM.

"It's going to be more than we hoped to spend," Kenton County Judge/executive Ralph Drees told the county's mayors during their monthly meeting, which was held Saturday at the Edgewood Senior Citizens Center, reports NKY.COM

Drees did not give details but said that generally the cost of construction, materials, land and more is driving the increase.

The county fiscal court is involved in court battles to secure the final two pieces of land through eminent domain. The county and landowners have been unable to agree on price, Drees said.

Fort Mitchell Police Chief Steve Hensley said he is "not at all surprised" that the projected cost has grown, NKY.COM reports.

"Not when you take a look at the increased construction costs and all the other increases across the board," said Hensley, who also serves as Fort Mitchell's city administrator. "I hope the legal action the county is taking to secure the land doesn't stall the project because the new jail is desperately needed."

The jail in south Covington is expected to house 500-plus inmates. The site behind the Kenton County Animal Shelter also includes room for a 150-bed expansion, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer's only news Web site.

"I'm sure Judge Drees is trying to keep the costs down as much as he can," said Crestview Hills Mayor Paul Meier.

Drees said the county is considering several measures to raise new revenue without a tax increase, mainly to make the projected $3 million annual debt payments on the new jail.

Drees told the mayors the county is proposing doubling the fee it charges cities to collect county occupational license taxes and increasing what it charges for snow removal, NKY.COM reports.

According to figures the county presented Saturday, the occupational license tax generated $26.6 million a year; $11.3 million goes to the county with the cities receiving $15.3 million.

The county spends $591,141 a year collecting the tax. Cities are charged a 1 percent collection fee based on the amount of tax collected on their behalf. That fee generates $153,024 for collection costs.

Drees said doubling the fee will generate $306,048 and help defray the county's collection costs, reports NKY.COM.

Copright - NKY. COM

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