North jail donation

Dave and Penny North have pledged $300,000 toward a new Jackson County jail. Above, chief deputy Steve Schroeder and sheriff Russ Kettmann accept the donation, which is contingent on the county passing a $6.495 million bond referendum for a new jail Aug. 6.

If Jackson County passes a bond referendum for a new jail Aug. 6, they'll get a $300,000 donation from Dave and Penny North toward the jail.

The Jackson County supervisors on June 11 officially set the election date for Aug. 6. The bond amount is not to exceed $6.495 million.

The donation is expected to allow the county to fund the full expansion of the jail to 74 beds. 

"Dave and Penny have always been leaders in our community… and are willing to pass on some of their good fortune," said county supervisor Mike Steines. "This should give incentive to others to move forward on this much-needed facility."

"I have studied the revised proposal developed by the sheriff's office, their consultants and the advisory committee," said Dave North. "I believe it is now the right balance of being fiscally conservative and meets the fundamental needs for an adequate and humane facility for our county."

The Norths live in Bellevue, and Dave is the CEO of Sedgwick.

A bond referendum for a new jail last August gained a majority of votes but failed to reach the 60 percent needed to pass. The current proposal is bigger but cheaper than last year's plan.

For years, state jail inspector Delbert Longley has found fault with Jackson County's current jail. 

The donation came without stipulation, according to chief sheriff's deputy Steve Schroeder. "I can't think of any better way to kick off our capital campaign," he said.

The county had toyed with the idea of purchasing land for a new jail outside of the bond, but the donation makes that possibility unlikely. If bids and bonding come in at less than $6.495 million, the amount will be reduced, Steines said.