Assembly looks to pump cash into prison proposal

Posted: Sunday, January 07, 2001

A fledgling private prison plan is poised to get a $150,000 shot in the arm.

As a firm is being sought to partner with the Kenai Peninsula Borough to explore the possibility of constructing and operating an 800- to 1,000-bed medium security private prison, borough administrators are also seeking financial support to facilitate advocacy services.

At Tuesday's borough assembly meeting, Borough Mayor Dale Bagley and Assembly President Tim Navarre are scheduled to request assembly approval for $150,000 from the general fund "for professional services to assist the borough administration with the prison project."

Describing the project as "very complex, including the legislative process, negotiations with the Department of Corrections and with private firms for contracts to locate, design, construct and ultimately operate this proposed large prison facility," the requesting memo from Navarre and Bagley anticipates $25,000 is needed for a financial adviser, another $25,000 for legal support and bond counsel and $100,000 for project management and consulting.

"Existing in-house resources are not adequate to properly plan and administer a project of this size and scope," according to the memo, adding that this may be the first such request. "As the project progresses, additional funding may be necessary."

The ordinance will come before the assembly's finance committee, chaired by Sterling representative Grace Merkes, Monday afternoon. Scheduled for introduction to the nine-member borough assembly Monday evening, the resolution appears on the agenda with an asterisk, signifying that it is on the consent agenda with others items considered to be "routine and noncontroversial."

Consent agenda items are approved by a single motion. Removal from the consent agenda requires a request from an assembly member.

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