The Marshall County Commissioners and the Marshall County Council met in joint session Monday morning to discuss the possibility of refinancing the bonds the county took out when the Marshall County Jail was built back in 2006.
The bond for the jail project was roughly $15 million in 2006 and $11 million is still outstanding. The county is hoping to lower their payment of $1.2 million per year until 2026.
Todd Samuelson from Umbaugh and Associates brought two options for the members to discuss and a hybrid of the two was an option the members agreed that might work for them.
The members discussed their caution in moving forward as there could be a need to expand the jail. Sheriff Tom Chamberlin explained to the governing bodies that he will not know how the legislative changes will affect the population at the jail until about a year or so into the process. The new law that would place lower felony offenders into local facilities or take part in programs like community corrections to keep down the population within the Department of Corrections could affect future operations at the jail. The new law, which takes affect July 1, will not affect prisoners already in the facility, just new offenders.
Sheriff Chamberlin said the population has gone down thanks to the partnership of the courts to move inmates through the system. He said there were 132 prisoners in the jail as of Monday morning.
Samuelson said that it might be wise for the board members to not wait to take advantage of the interest rates as they are lower now than what they were in 2006.
“The decision that they’ve made is to move forward with the refinancing to reduce their payments each year and to have the flexibility to keep the funds in reserve to either pay the bonds off sooner down the road or to apply those funds to perhaps some additional capacity or operational costs that may occur because of this legislative change or other changes that we’re not even aware of at this point,” said Samuelson.
All of the council and commission members both approved motions to move forward.
Both entities will be discussing the CAGIT fund as they move forward with this process as that money is affected by the bond.