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Oklahoma County commissioner favors taxpayer-funded jail

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No one knows the Oklahoma City price tag of a potential MAPS 3 proposal. Mayor Mick Cornett says it could be in the ballpark of the first two projects, which ranged from about $300 million the first time to the MAPS for Kids price tag (roughly $500 million from sales tax revenue with about $180 million from general obligation bonds).

Before the one-cent sales tax expires, the Oklahoma City Council has until October to approve a MAPS 3 resolution for a December vote. City leaders are setting a target date of Sept. 29 for the final proposal.

If you're looking for more numbers for Central Oklahoma, consider this: A new Oklahoma County jail could cost upwards of $390 million, according to The Associated Press.

Officials with the county-hired architectural firm Frankfurt-Short-Bruza reportedly told commissioners a new jail would cost $391 million and would need 300 new jail employees, if not more.

Expanding or renovating the embattled facility would cost about $436 million and require even more hires. Shortly after the jail was built in 1991, escaping inmates used bed sheets to repel down brick walls.

Oklahoma County Commissioner Ray Vaughn told AP he prefers a countywide sales tax to fund upgrades or construction of new facility.

"We need to address that issue or we face the possibility of a federal lawsuit and the possibility of a takeover of our facility by the federal government," Vaughn said, according to AP.

Takeover by the feds would be popular here, don't you think? Is the county surprised?

"It's certainly significant numbers, significantly more than we anticipated," Vaughn reportedly said. "We always talked about the possible renovation and annex costing somewhere around $120 million.

"This obviously blows that number right out of the ballpark."

What's a few hundred million when you have a history of inmate escapes, suicides and all-around violent clashes? 

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