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Alternate jail facility discusses expansion

Reality House wants to add 50 beds, but the county says funds are unavailable now.
Friday, July 23, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:43 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

Board Members of the Reality House discussed plans with the Boone County Commission on Thursday to add a wing to their existing facility of 210 beds. While no specific financial or design plans have been developed, they want to add 50 new beds.

Reality House is a nonprofit community correctional program that offers alternatives to traditional jail or prison sentences. The county owns the facility and charges rent.

Commissioners were open to the project, but said they were concerned with a lack of funding. The preliminary estimated cost of the wing addition is between $573,000 and $657,000.

“I’m not sure the county at this time ... has the excess funds,” Presiding Commissioner Keith Schnarre said.

Northern District Commissioner Skip Elkin said 2006 would be the earliest the commission would discuss funding. He said it is cheaper to house “overflow” inmates from the Boone County Jail at the Reality House than send them to the next closest county jail.

The proposal estimates that the county would save about $100,000 per year. Board members estimate the cost of the addition would be recovered in six to seven years.

The commission also approved a franchise renewal with Charter Communications. The renewal allows for the broadcast of the Columbia Public Access Channel for county residents and Internet and cable to Boone County public buildings with Charter as their provider.


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