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The Carthage Press
  • Commissioners near decision on jail repairs

  • County leaders say they are close to signing a contract on more than $800,000 in repairs to the Jasper County Detention Center.


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  • County leaders say they are close to signing a contract on more than $800,000 in repairs to the Jasper County Detention Center.

    Presiding Jasper County Commissioner John Bartosh said he would have brought the contract up for a vote on Tuesday, but Paul Chastant, the consultant with Carter Gobel Lee, the company working with the commissioners on the jail repair project, found problems with some of the wording in the contract.

    Bartosh said the commissioners will likely vote on the contract at next Tuesday’s regular commission meeting after Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Norman Rouse has had the chance to review it.

    Bartosh said the commissioners are also close to deciding how to finance the cost of the project, which stands at $816,000 now, but could rise to as much as $920,000 depending on how many locks need to be completely replaced.

    The commissioners set aside $137,000 from the 2012 proceeds from law enforcement sales tax to pay part of the costs and made plans in the 2012 county budget to take $550,000 from the county’s reserve account, an account created when the county sold the corner of Grand Avenue and Fir Road to Arvest Bank for $885,000, for the project.

    County Auditor Richard Webster said the commissioners have added money to that reserve account over the past few years to bring it to just over $1 million.

    Bartosh said on Tuesday the county has three proposals from banks on financing part of the project.

    “I’m recommending to the commissioners that we borrow as little of the money as possible and save the taxpayers the cost of interest,” Webster said. “By the same token, it’s not a good idea to spend all of our reserves, but to pay as little in interest as possible, we should pump some of our own money in the project and make sure there’s a mechanism in the budget to pay it back.”

    Bartosh said the contractor, Cornerstone Detention Products, Tanner, Ala., would have to inspect the detention center before deciding how many locks could be retained and repaired and how many would need to be replaced.

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