KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Jackson County legislator will meet with the mayor and other Kansas City elected leaders this week to discuss potentially sharing the costs for new jails.

Taxpayers may benefit by combining efforts on similar detention centers.

Jackson County is two years into the process of spending $256-million to build a new jail on 40 Highway, which would have 1,244 beds for inmates.

Legislator Dan Tarwater says the city also is seeking to build a detention center that would house more than 300 municipal prisoners, but he says city leaders are balking at the cost to essentially duplicate what the county already is undertaking.

“I would like to hear what they are proposing,” Tarwater said. “What they were looking at is in the neighborhood of 200 to 300 million dollars. They are not willing to spend that. But if they are willing
to spend some money with us, I’m sure we would want to look at that.”

Mayor Quinton Lucas and some council members are meeting with Tarwater this week and county officials are supposed to meet with their city counterparts Friday to discuss possibly combining efforts and saving
taxpayers some money.

“We’ve got the land, we’ve got the design concept where you could either stand it alone on that property or you could hook it on, whatever people determine,” Legislator Tony Miller, of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, said. “But I think if that is the will of the county and the city, I think many of us would be open to it given the right circumstances.”

The city already owns land adjacent to the new Jackson County jail site. The city potentially could build a separate intake center alongside the county jail for municipal prisoners. And the county’s jail is designed with partnership in mind. It can be expanded to 1,366 beds.

Some are urging the county to proceed with its plans and not wait for the city to jump in, because construction costs are escalating during this inflationary time.

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