Process for new jail will be long, winding road

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Alpena County attorney and bond council John Axe updates Alpena County Finance Committee on the steps needed to be completed before construction of the new jail can begin. He said it is expected groundbreaking will not be until spring of 2019.

ALPENA — Alpena County will be getting a new jail, but it is going to be a long and winding road before it becomes a reality.

At the Alpena County Board of Commissioners Finance Committee meeting Wednesday county attorney and bond council John Axe updated the commissioners on where the project is and what steps are upcoming.

Axe said the jail committee has interviewed architect and design firms and narrowed the choice to six companies. He said each will get another interview and then the finalist will be selected by the committee.

Then, Axe said, the board of commissioners will choose who it wants to hire and design work can begin. Until the final design is finished and construction costs are determined, there will be little for the county to do other than publish a notice of intent to issue capital improvement bonds.

“Once that is done there will be a 45 day referendum period and then the board can approve a bond resolution,” Axe said. “The next thing that would happen is we would get the final bids for the project and then we will have a final official statement repaired and submit a rating application to the rating agency. Alpena County has an excellent credit rating.”

Axe said after the rating application is submitted a notice of sale would be published, a credit rating received and bonds will come in and then the board will pass a resolution which will allow the treasurer to issue the bonds to the lowest bidder. Then the bonds will be delivered.

“The actual breaking of ground will all depend on all of these various steps coming forward and we’re really not in the position to do more than adopt the notice of intent to issue bonds,” he said.

Axe said the county can’t issue the bonds until the cost of the new jail is determined, which may not be until later this year. He said it is likely that groundbreaking wouldn’t be until spring of 2019.

In other business:

∫ the committee recommended that storage rates at the fairgrounds be increased from $1.25 per square foot to $1.50. Maintenance Superintendent Wes Wilder said the increase will generate several thousand dollars in added revenue.

∫ the committee recommended entering into a service agreement with Shindler Custom to provide quarterly prevention maintenance for the elevator at the health department. The cost is $1,350 a year.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews.