Portage Township Agrees to 425 Proposal, Houghton County gets Closer to New Jail

Houghton County is getting closer to building a new jail. The proposed facility would house the 97th Circuit Court, county jail and Sheriff’s office. With the rise in population and expanding communities, county officials say they need to update the facility for the sheriff and jail.  A 6-acre parcel of land in Portage Township’s jurisdiction is the proposed site for the facility.

Houghton County voters have declined previous mileage requests to fund the project. County commissioners will also need to fully support the plan to build the jailhouse according to Portage Township Council Member Bill Fink.

There’s a potential loss of tax revenue for the township if the land was annexed outright. But the 425 proposed agreements between the township, city and county would allow the land to be in the city of Houghton’s possession during the course of the project. The parcel would be officially annexed only after construction is complete.

Millage language has not been put before Houghton County voters just yet. County officials are working to gain public support for the new facility first. The timeline is another factor to consider.  The new jail house agreement allows the county to take nine years to pass the millage and construct the building to federal standards. If the plan were to fall through anytime during those 9 years, the land will revert back to Portage.