Yes. Several studies were completed before deciding on a plan.
In June 2015, the City of Charles City, Charles City Community School District, Charles City YMCA and Floyd County jointly procured FEH Design to facilitate a public driven study to consider community resources in the public and private sector, conduct a fair and unbiased study of the current conditions, and provide sustainable solutions to meet the needs of all entities. In addition to the Joint Facility Study, FEH also produced a Jail Study for Floyd County. Multiple meetings and committees were engaged over a 4-month period. From these studies, the jail concept received positive results from citizens and was listed as the highest priority from a community standpoint.
In November 2015, the Charles City City Council and the Floyd County Board of Supervisors held their first of several planning sessions which led to hiring Prochaska & Associates to conduct additional studies, including unified law enforcement (combined sheriff and police as one law enforcement agency), co-locating Charles City Police Department and Sheriff's office in one facility where they could share resources, and the needs of both entities. The unified law enforcement idea fizzled early in the process and in April 2017, the Charles City City Council voted not to pursue joining the county in a joint law enforcement center due to their share of estimated costs to build and the timing of other city projects. The next phase of the study soon pursued with a committee of citizens from throughout the county and included county employees. From many options that were studied, the Citizens Committee selected option 1B for recommendation to the board of supervisors in November 2017.
The board of supervisors have also thoroughly reviewed all considerations including renovating, hold & transport, and building new. Several additional topics were also addressed:
- Not building in a flood plain. The proposed plan sets elevations not only one foot above the 100-year flood plain as required by City Ordinance, but one foot above the 500-year flood plain. Although this is not a required standard, the state of Iowa will not build a critical infrastructure in anything less than 1 foot above the 500-year flood plain. This also meets the expectations of the county's own ordinance which prohibits building any infrastructure in the unincorporated area of the county in less than 3' above the 100-year flood plain.
- The need of a 32-bed facility. Two primary methodologies are considered for jail needs. The "Incarceration Rate Method" proposes 45 beds is necessary and the Linear Regression Method proposes 20 beds; the average of the two is 32 beds. Consideration of historical and higher than expected recent incarcerations bode well to nothing less than a 32-bed facility. Also, a jail is considered at full capacity at 80% of its available beds, which would be 25 in a 32-bed facility. This is due to the limitations of classification of inmates. This size facility also lends an opportunity to house inmates from other counties if we are not at capacity.