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County to Ask Voters to OK Bond Sale to Fund New Jail

November 26, 1986|BOB SCHWARTZ | Times Staff Writer

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday moved toward placing a bond measure before county voters that would finance construction of a 1,600-bed jail near Anaheim Stadium.

Without discussion or dissent, the board directed the county administrative office to draft a ballot measure for a general-obligation bond of about $140 million--the estimated cost of the new jail. The measure could be placed on the ballot in November, 1987, or June, 1988.

Approval by at least two-thirds of the voters is needed to pass such a measure. A property tax increase would be necessary to service and repay the bonds. County staff estimated the annual interest costs of a $138-million bond issue at $11 million.

The county must provide local funds because it has been precluded from using state jail bond money at the controversial Anaheim site.

One alternative to issuing bonds would be to take the money needed for construction out of the county's general funds. That would mean a loss of about $13 million each year to other county departments, said Dan Wooldridge, an aide to Supervisor Ralph B. Clark.

In addition to the Anaheim jail, the county plans to build a 5,000- to 6,000-bed jail at a more remote site and expand the James A. Musick Honor Farm in El Toro to a capacity of about 1,500. The total estimated capital costs for all three facilities over the next 15 years is $481 million, according to a county report.

The county has been under pressure to relieve overcrowding in its jail facilities since 1978, when a federal judge ordered the sheriff and supervisors to provide a bunk for each inmate. Last year, U.S. District Judge William P. Gray found Sheriff Brad Gates and the supervisors in contempt for not complying with the order.

A bond measure approved by voters statewide last June would have earmarked $18 million to $25 million in state funds for Orange County jail construction. But an amendment tacked onto the measure by Assemblyman Richard Robinson (D-Garden Grove) and state Sen. John Seymour (R-Anaheim) prohibits the county from using the funds to build a jail at the Katella Avenue and Douglass Road site in Anaheim.

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