County ready to talk about jail with Pace

Published 6:59 pm Monday, January 14, 2019

Toward the end of their first work session of the year, the Warren County Board of Supervisors discussed the latest on the proposed new county jail and the need for Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace’s involvement.

Board President Richard George indicated the county has received or is in the process of receiving the necessary permits for the jail site, which is located on 47 acres along U.S. 80 at the old Pinewoods Hotel.

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He said the county needs to keep some kind of momentum going.

“We’ve got the DEQ permits,” George said. “We’ve got the property, getting ready to demolish buildings and get rid of the pond for site preparation. But really and truly, we’re to a point where we need the decision to be made what type of facility are we going to build.”

George said through studies, a single-level facility seems to be the consensus.

“We need to sit down with the sheriff and nail it down,” George said. “So that when you look for an architect, you’ve got to know what you want; they need to know what you want.”

George said he thinks the supervisors need to set a date to have a meeting with Pace.

“We’ve got to get him sitting in that chair down there,” George said, pointing to the end of the table. “It’s not a decision we can’t make, but it’s not a decision we need to be making by ourselves. We truly need input from law enforcement. That’s their field of expertise. Our field is how we’re going to pay for it.”

For several years, the county has been looking at building a new jail facility to house city and county inmates to replace the current 100-year-old jail.

In June 2018, the county purchased the property for $400,000, which is $29,000 more than the appraised value.

The facility is expected to be paid through a bond issue in the range of $18-20 million. George told a gathering of the monthly chamber of commerce luncheon in August the bond issue would be “sometime in 2020 or 2021.”