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Newport Independent - Newport, AR
  • Plans moving forward on jail

  • Jackson County officials approved preliminary drawings by architects charged with creating a new detention facility.
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  • Jackson County Sheriff David Lucas presented renderings completed late last week by ETFC Architects to the justices showing elevations as well as an idea of how the facility would appear.
    “The architect sent me these and asked me to look at them,” Lucas explained, “I’ve looked them over and told him that I thought they were fine and I would be presenting them to you tonight.”
    “If you agree, then I will email him back when we leave here and let him know to proceed.”
    Lucas advised the board that architects hope to have presentation boards and a Power Point presentation ready in the very near future for the public to view.
    Justices unanimously approved a measure to allow the architects to move forward hoping that by their October meeting they can finalize their funding needs and begin a public campaign to secure the funds necessary.
    Court members have spent most of 2012 studying options to keep a facility open in Jackson County eliminating the need to pay someone else to house their inmates.
    “I know that if we don’t get this jail, the state will shut us down,” Lucas explained, “and if they shut us down, it will bankrupt the county in less than two years.”
    Estimated costs to house inmates at a nearby facility will cost the county approximately $1 million per year, according to Lucas.
    “The state won’t come in here and make you build a new jail, but if we don’t get this facility and have to ship out our prisoners, they will come in here and raise your millage rates to pay to send them off,” Lucas added.
    County administrators are currently looking for funding options for a new facility.
    In other business:
    - Court members approved a resolution clarifying reporting of the Jackson County Community and Economic Development Agency. The resolution spells out the reporting requirements, mandated by state statute, of the agency to the Quorum Court.
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