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COUNTY TO SUE SOUTH S.L. OVER JAIL REVERSAL

SHARE COUNTY TO SUE SOUTH S.L. OVER JAIL REVERSAL

The Salt Lake County Commission gave the county attorney's office approval Monday to sue South Salt Lake for reversing a decision to allow construction of a new jail facility there.

The decision came the same day the commission planned to sell bonds for the jail that were approved by voters during a May 23 special election.William R. Hyde, chief deputy county attorney, told the commission the same overcrowding conditions exist now that existed when the commission decided in February 1988 to proceed with plans to build a new minimum security jail for misdemeanor offenders.

Some 661 prisoners were housed in the jail as of Monday morning, he said - which is about average. But that's still 120 more than the facility's designed capacity.

Commission Chairman Michael Stewart said suing is the county's best option as it attempts to regain the use permit South Salt Lake granted and then denied for jail construction on the Oxbow site in South Salt Lake.

"No matter where we go to site a jail in the community, there would be an outcry," Stewart said. "We spent a lot of time and a lot of money on that site, and to simply move from site to site facing that outcry wherever we were to go" would waste time and money. "The real issue is we need a facility. That is the best (site). We own the property. It would be the best site."

Until the case is opened in court, the commission won't comment further on county's case "so the issue can be dealt with cleanly", Stewart said. "The merits of our request now go to the court to see if there is any reason to sustain the overturning of our permit to build and use at that site."