Napa County still planning for new jail, despite loss of sales tax funding measure

Napa County is still trying to build a new facility to replace the aging downtown jail, though it has once again shifted the size and funding method.

County voters last June declined to pass Measure Y, meaning the proposed quarter-cent sales tax will not be available to help pay for a $103 million, 256-bed jail on the county owned property along Highway 221 near the Syar quarry.

“The thing is, we still need a new jail,” Deputy County Executive Officer Helene Franchi said.

The county is seeking to build a 64-bed unit with core facilities such as laundry area, kitchen and administrative offices for an estimated $66 million, though Franchi said this price is a moving target. This would be phase I of a new jail.

A 64-bed first phase wouldn’t be big enough to replace the 264-bed downtown jail. The county would operate both the new jail and the old jail until it could raise more money for a second phase at the Highway 221 complex.

But first things first. The county still must find enough money to build the $66 million first phase.

Franchi said Napa County has come up with about $58 million through savings, property sales and $22.8 million in contributions from the state. That leaves a gap of about $8 million to $12 million, depending on the final price tag.

Financing the gap with a loan is a possibility, but that could mean making regular payments to cover the principal and interest out of the…

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