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Council hears about proposal to sell prison
by Leslie Ehrenberg
Optimism continues to grow that state legislators will approve housing inmates in Appleton’s prison. What comes into question is how this path will be paved.
Swift County Administrator Mike Pogge-Weaver met with the Appleton City Council during their April 20 meeting to ask for their feedback on a proposal to sell the prison to the state and to ask for transitional aid to make up for lost property taxes.
“There has been a lot of activity around the prison in the legislature,” said Pogge-Weaver. “If you would have asked me six months ago if we would be in the top five issues in the legislature, I would have said no. Right now we are among the top five non-bonding bill issues. It’s taken on its own track.”
In a recent discussion with Senator Lyle Koenen, members of a local task force working to open the prison heard that the option to lease the prison by the state would not happen this legislative session. There is hope, however, the state could buy the facility outright.
“Speaking for the county, we would still prefer a lease option. It would make a lot of sense, but frankly the outlook of that happening with this legislative session, and with this Governor, is quite in doubt,” said Pogge-Weaver.
Added to this, CCA, the current owner, does not have any contracts, or requests for proposals (RFPs), on the horizon. This means the prison will remain unused for the foreseeable future.
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