In a 21-14 vote, the Dane County Board of Supervisors on Thursday rejected a proposed ballot referendum to fund a new Dane County Jail project.
The resolution called for an April referendum on covering a $13.5 million funding shortfall for the project, which is expected to cost around $175 million.
District 14 Supervisor Anthony Grey opposed it, saying a new and larger jail would perpetuate racial inequities in the jail population. “It’s my belief that if we can find a way that we can knock down the place where we are the worst in the nation, which is with the racial disparities for black folks, that would take us a long way toward lowering the overall under-roof population.”
Thursday’s action by the county board followed a Wednesday press conference by Dane County Sheriff Kalvin Barrett, in which they urged the board to approve putting the funding referendum before voters.