Special Meeting to Consider Recommendation to Voters on Jail Tax
Date: Thursday August 3, 6-8 pm
Location: Bellingham Public Library downstairs
The Sheriff and County Executive argue the existing jail is in terrible condition, that more space is needed to accommodate increased numbers of inmates, and that if we don’t build now it will become even more expensive. On the other hand, a consultant hired by the county, the Vera Institute of Justice, released a preliminary report this month, concluding, “Any attempt to ease overcrowding by building a new facility or expanding the current one will not address the underlying causes of [jail] population growth, and the new facility will quickly become overcrowded.”
Two years ago voters rejected a similar ballot measure. This year the County Council was split, narrowly approving it by 4-3.
This meeting will examine the pros and cons and consider alternatives before moving to a vote on what, if any, position to take.
Ferndale Mayor Jon Mutchler will argue in favor of the jail tax, Lisa McShane, former Co-Chair of the Jail Planning Task Force, against it, and Candidates Committee Co-Chair John McGarrity will argue for no decision now.
Voting will be only by members in good standing. Those whose membership has lapsed in the last six months can vote after renewing and paying their dues.