BANGOR- The Penobscot County Jail has been above capacity for some time and plans to build a new facility are underway.
In a workshop with city councilors, County Commission Chair Peter Baldacci said they want to build a facility that serves their population, while also creating more space.
“We also want to build smart and be not just a warehouse, but a place to help people turn things around,” he said.
He said that in the long run, building a new facility sooner rather than later will be more cost-effective than waiting.
“We’re projected to spend $1-million boarding inmates, so over the course of 20 or 30 years, we would spend more doing nothing than taking care of the problem,” Baldacci added.
The estimated price tag for the current plan is around $45-million.
That’s about $20-million less than the originally suggested plan for a 300-bed facility.
“It’s a big impact on the Bangor taxpayer, because Bangor pays 24% of the county tax rate.” Dan Tremble, a Bangor city councilor told us. “So if they end up with a $45-million jail and they borrow $3-million a year, we’re paying $750-thousand a year.”
The currently proposed facility will have an estimated 250 beds and could be located where the Bangor YMCA used to be on the corner of Hammond and Court Streets.
They hope to bring a bond referendum to vote in June of 2020.
Baldacci said until then, they’re going to get more details and drawing.
Councilors, County Sheriff Troy Morton, and Baldacci all agree a new facility would provide a safer environment for corrections staff and inmates.