Against a backdrop of growing community opposition to the county government’s plan to build a new jail in Prescott, the Citizens Tax Committee (CTC) will hold their annual meeting Wednesday, November 25th, at the Adult Center of Prescott, starting at 1 pm. The meeting is open to the public and will include a presentation on the status of current litigation seeking an injunction to stop construction of the new jail at the proposed site.
The plaintiff in the lawsuit, (William E. Williams v Rowle P. Simmons, et al.) will discuss the issues identified by an environmental engineer concerning the toxic state of the construction site, which some are calling a “brownfield.” A brownfield is defined as a a tract of land that has been developed for industrial purposes, polluted, and then abandoned.
Issues surrounding the wisdom of building of new jail in Prescott appear to be of growing concern across the county. Two candidates opposed to the jail, Harry Oberg (District 1) and Donna Michaels (District 3), were recently elected to the County Board of Supervisors, replacing incumbent Supervisors, including Mr. Simmons, who voted to approve the 110 bed facility to be built within walking distance of residential areas of the city. Signs opposing the jail and warning of taxpayer liability have begun to appear at major intersections in Prescott.
According to the lawsuit, constructing a residential structure on a known brownfield that has not undergone remediation, exposes county taxpayers to liability for any medical problems encountered by inmates or staff from exposure to toxic chemicals. Williams, a resident of Prescott Valley, is an investigative reporter who filed for an injunction pro se after learning of the potential environmental problems. The county is continuing with site preparation while the litigation continues.
Also on the agenda is a report on Prescott’s Industrial Development Authority which is responsible for developing the financing for industrial development within the city of Prescott. CTC member Ed Bowe who is Chairman of the Industrial Development Authority will update the public on current issues.
The Citizens Tax Committee has served as a taxpayer advocate and promoted fiscal accountability in local government since their founding in 1977. Over the years they have become one of Prescott’s most consequential civic organizations and a focal point for opposition to wasteful government spending and excessive debt. Their voter education efforts have led to the defeat of higher taxes for school bonds and budget overrides and lower funding levels for Arizona’s flawed Public Safety Personnel Retirement System. In recent months CTC helped raise public awareness about the expensive and environmentally unsound Verde Valley Connector. Last week the County Board of Supervisors announced that plans to build the connector road have been cancelled.
Following the public meeting, CTC members will vote on new Officers and Board Members for the coming year. Members of the public who are concerned about the jail or want to learn more about the environmental issues associated with the proposed construction site are invited to attend. The meeting begins at 1 pm and is free and open to the public. The Adult Center is located at 1280 E Rosser St., Prescott, Arizona.