Pickett County will begin actively pursuing plans to build a new county jail.
County Executive Carey Garner said at Monday night’s Commissioners Meeting, the project has been some eight years in the making.
“We weren’t financially able to start it,” Garner said. “And so we’ve just not got to where we think we can afford one, so it’s time that we start on it again.”
Garner said while it’s still early days, they wanted to jump on the chance while the price was still reasonable. He said that they are hoping the price tag will not exceed $5 million. Garner said that the funding will come from debt services and the money the county has been saving with its jail fund. Garner said that the comptroller told him it’s likely that the county can use some ARP funding for the project as well.
Garner said that the next steps will be to consult with the engineers. He said they need to check the feasibility of building, the best location for it, and other preliminary steps. Commissioner Tony Beaty said that now is as good of a time as any to start pursuing the project.
“If you feel pretty confident that they can do something right at around $5 million, pursuing the matter isn’t going to cost anything so I don’t see why, as far as I’m concerned,” Beaty said. “(…)It’s going to come to a point in time that Fentress County, all the sheriff is going to have to do is get a matter of changes and the new sheriff or whoever for whatever reason, all they have to do is say ‘No you’re paying for prisoners.’ It’s going to get to that point one of these days (…) It’s long overdue it’s something that should’ve been taken care of a long time ago.”
Beaty said that it’s a good idea to look into, but the county does not need to repeat past mistakes. He said that they shouldn’t waste a lot of money on things they don’t need to do.