COST TO RENOVATE CURRENT LAWRENCE COUNTY JAIL ESTIMATED AT $8 - $10 MILLION
LAWRENCE COUNTY - DECEMBER 27, 2022 - Last Tuesday, Lawrence County Commissioners and Lawrence County Council called for work session to discuss about a proposed new jail.
The Lawrence County Zephyr only learned of the work session on Monday with a posting at the Lawrence County Courthouse notifying the public of the meeting.
(Property is available for sale on Beech Street and is the favored location of a new correctional facility in Lawrence County)
The Lawrence County Auditor is only required to post the meeting at the Lawrence County courthouse. The local media or the public was not notified through normal notification of the meeting.
(Only notification to the public of work session was posting on the wall of the courthouse)
Lawrence County Zephyr has obtained the minutes of the meeting which Sheriff Mike Branham discussed the RQAW Feasibility study that was completed in August 2021.
1. Proposed Jail
2. Future expansion of jail
3. Sally port
4. Secured Parking
6. Proposed surface parking
7. Future Justice Campus - Courts building, Community Corrections, Probation
8. Communication and Office
9. Storm water retention
10. Overhead Utilities
Lawrence County Sheriff Branham informed the Lawrence County Commissioners and Lawrence County Council that there is still a need for a new jail estimated around $35 Million in construction costs. This does not include the additional cost of about $7 million to $ 8 Million in costs for furniture and equipment for the new facility.
According to Branham the cost to renovate the existing jail is estimated at $8 to $10 Million dollars. Branham told the group that the inmates would have to be housed at another location during the renovation process.
Proposed new $35 million new Lawrence County Jail
The proposed new jail facility will be funded by a Correctional Facility Income Tax and .35 percent tax increase to the current Public Safety Income Tax already in place.
The decision to build the jail will first be made by the Lawrence County Commissioners and Lawrence County Council members will vote on the proposed new tax and additional income tax.
Is there plenty room to expand existing jail facility
There are four other locations that was considered for the new jail. However, in the purchase of the parcel on Beech Street the plans to build a Probation Department office and Community Corrections Center is being considered and most favorable by the Justice Study committee.
Lawrence County Sheriff elect Greg Day told the Lawrence County Zephyr after his win election night, his feelings about the jail situation.
Lawrence County Sheriff elect Greg Day says let's get the current jail safer
" Obviously, I made it no secret about the fact at some forums, that we need to look at the role of looking at a new jail facility. We need to seriously start looking at what we can do to fix our current jail, first," said Day.
"With the jail counts down the jail will be a lot easier to manage. This will help tremendously that will allow some flexibility with what the jail can do. Those numbers will fluctuate over time, but I do not want a band-aid on it. If we are going to fix it, I am for saving the taxpayer money at this time. Let put a substantial investment in this current jail, get the jail safer, workable, and improve what we have. Hopefully, we can get 10-13 years quality life out of this current facility. That give the Lawrence County Commissioners, Lawrence County Council, powers to be a time frame of the inevitable of building a new jail. I am really hoping everybody is on board with what we can do with the current facility. I certain at this time, that Lawrence County does not need to spend money on a new jail," added Day concluded.
Lawrence County Zephyr will continue to monitor developments on this story.