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Oconto Co. Begins Planning New Jail

Work on making the new Oconto County Law Enforcement Center a reality is already under way, according to a brief report made by Administrator Kevin Hamann to the county board at its meeting on Thursday, Nov. 14. County Board in September approved location of the planned $25 million project either adjacent to the courthouse or attached to it, and reiterated that decision in October. The project will require purchase of numerous properties in the perimeter of the courthouse complex, which includes the current county jail and court facilities along with other county offices.

Hamann said requests for proposals for assistance in property acquisition and other planning work have been sent to prospective consultants, and results were due back on Tuesday, Nov. 26.

The county also will be working with a firm to put together and review an RFP for construction designs, Hamann said.

He had some preliminary discussions with City of Oconto officials in regard to the desired vacation of Adams Street, and things went well, Hamann reported.

City spokesmen at the September and October County Board meetings were adamantly opposed to the courthouse location for the law enforcement center, saying it would decrease the city’s tax base by $1 million or more. They preferred the previously proposed County S site, for which the Town of little River declined to change zoning unless County Board got voter approval for the project in a referendum. County Board chose not to go that route.

Need for more jail space appears to keep growing. The jail report showed the average prisoner count rose from 73.8 to 78.17, and Hamann said he did not see this decreasing at all. Six prisoners were currently housed in jails of other counties, including Marinette County.

Hamann announced work on the new mobile command post for incident responses, a remodeled RV, is complete and the vehicle was available for tours after the day’s meeting.

County Clerk Kim Pytleski reviewed rules for the spring election, at which all 31 County Board seats are to be filled. She had distributed nomination paper packets for each of the supervisors, and said she will give similar packets for any other potential candidate who requests one. First day for circulating nomination papers is Sunday, Dec. 1. Each candidate for County Board must collect 20 to 100 signatures, and they must be turned in to her office before 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014.

Pytleski asked any supervisors who are not planning to seek re-election to file declarations of non-candidacy as soon as possible, although the deadline is Friday, Dec. 27.


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