Jail boondoggle will cost Wayne County $500M

Posted at 9:52 PM, Dec 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-18 22:02:15-05

An internal audit, conducted in 2013, puts the total cost to taxpayers of the abandoned Wayne County jail project at more than half a billion dollars.

The report says that $129 million has already been spent in construction costs, and that over the next 30 years $404 billion would be spent to payout the principal and interest in bonds that had been issued for the project.

The report also reveals that, as far as the auditors could determine, a budget was never "prepared, adopted and/or approved" for the project.

The jail, which is estimated to be about 35% completed, was approved for construction in 2010.

At that time, the Wayne County Commission approved $220 million in construction costs and $300 million for the total project cost.

Construction company Walbridge-dck was hired to build the jail in September 2011. However, two months later estimates said the construction costs had grown to $265 million and by May 2013 Walbridge was saying it would cost $267 million.

The audit found that the higher costs was approved by Wayne County Building Authority Board of Commissioners, but that the Wayne County Commission was never told.

Construction at the jail was suspended for 60 days on June 6, 2013. It was never restarted and all contracts were canceled in August 2013.

At the time of the suspension, it was determined the suspension would costs between $2-5 million. That amounts to be $67,000 to $167,000 a day.