At the recent Quorum Court meeting, held on Dec. 14, a new committee was formed to watch over the new jail building process. County Judge Charles Willett named Quorum Court members Jack Haney, Michael Barnett, and Jim Bicker, along with Salem Police Chief Al Roork, and Fulton County Hospital Board of Governors member Jerry Blevins, with attorney Duane Plumlee available to assist when needed.
Judge Willett has been working with Blevins and the building company of Lee and Associates to finalize plans for a 24 bed, $1.2 million dollar facility to be built at the back end of the old nursing home facility. The unit will house eight women and 16 men, and will be a free standing building that will have a covered walkway to the old nursing home facility, which will become a multi-purpose facility including a courtroom and offices.
With the addition of an estimated $1 million in architect's fees, the total cost for the jail should be around $2.2 million. Judge Willett pointed out that there are $200,000 in USDA funds available, along with the option of a 4.2 percent loan from the USDA that would give the county 40 years to finance. He believes that no tax increases will be necessary if the county proceeds through the Public Facilities Board.
According to the jail standards, current staffing levels would be adequate for the new facility, so no new staffing would be required.
County Sheriff Walter Dillinger was one of many in attendance who were glad to see the forward progress on the jail. "I'll be very glad when we get it done," said Dillinger.
Currently, the county has no firm plans for what to do with the existing jail facility.
In other news, the county passed a fiscal budget for 2010 and appropriated FEMA money in the amount of $3,254,281.71 to the County Roads fund and $51,451.76 to the County General fund. The county also appropriated $3,611.47 to the Fair Association, $4,500 to pay off the cost of the Hazard Mitigation Plan which was voted down in the last meeting, $8,310 for several emergency trailers to be stationed around the county and the Fulton County Hospital excess sales tax of $24,695.81. With that, the court adjourned.