City enters into jail agreement

Published 6:31 pm Friday, March 9, 2018

City officials have given their approval to a county jail on U.S. 80.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen Friday authorized Mayor George Flaggs Jr. to sign an interlocal agreement with the Warren County Board of Supervisors to locate the jail on the 47-acre old Pinewoods Hotel site on U.S. 80, which is about 1 mile outside the city limits.

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“Thank God,” Flaggs said.

City attorney Nancy Thomas said the site was examined by the city’s jail committee, and the county will reserve a minimum of 50 slots — 35 male and 15 female — for city prisoners. The city will be charged a daily rate per inmate to keep the city’s prisoners. The rate has not been determined.

“We’re ready to go,” she said.

Flaggs commended the jail committee and the board for its work on the jail issue, and commended the supervisors for working with the city and their decision on the jail site.

“I think that is the kind of collaboration we want to use going forward on these projects,” he said. “I’m sorry there was some miscommunication in the process, but the good news for the taxpayers is we’re moving forward, we’ve got a piece of property we can all agree on. It’s not a perfect piece of property — somebody’s always going to be opposed to it — but it’s in the best interest of the city and the county that we move forward and begin to build a modern facility to handle these inmates.”

Board of Supervisors President Richard George said he had not seen the final version of the agreement, but added, “We should be in business.”

He said it was always the county’s intention to build a facility large enough to accomodate city and county prisoners, “But they wanted to dedicate a number and that was fine.”

George said he did not believe the county would need legislative approval, but board attorney Blake Teller had contacted state Sen. Briggs Hopson “just to be on the safe side.”

Flaggs said the Legislature is expected to approve the joint agreement sometime next week.

“This will remove any doubt as to the location,” he said.

The Pinewoods site was initially considered as a site for the jail, and was among the supervisors’ final selections for the jail. The supervisors dropped it in favor of a site on Berryman Road, then proposed to use property at the Ceres Industrial Park. The plan to use Ceres fell through after city and economic development officials opposed it.

The supervisors approved the old Pinewoods site, which was one of four proposed by the city, at its meeting Monday.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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