Counties asked to cut down costs for Lincoln Hills replacement facilities
By Jalen Maki
Tomahawk Leader Co-Editor
State lawmakers are citing a $55 million difference between funds requested and funds available to build regional youth detention facilities meant to replace the Lincoln Hills/Copper Lake facility in Irma.
Department of Corrections Secretary Kevin Carr said last Tuesday that there isn’t enough money available to build each of the four county-run replacement facilities in Brown, Dane, Milwaukee and Racine counties at the proposed total cost of $135 million. Lawmakers have only set aside $80 million to build the facilities. Governor Tony Evers sought $100 million to build the new detention centers.
The counties are required by law to build replacement facilities.
Counties were asked by a state committee convened to distribute state-funded grants to build the facilities to find savings in their proposals due to the large amount of funding requested. Most of the plans would have used nearly half of all the funding available for all of the facilities.
Although Evers was able to use his veto powers to find more funding for the replacement facilities in the budget he signed earlier this month, and there is initial approval to spend up to $47 million on state-run facilities, only $23.2 million is available in borrowing for them.
Evers and lawmakers recently agreed to push back Lincoln Hills’ closing date six months from the original date of Jan. 1, 2021. Evers has stated even more time may be needed to close the facility.