Cookeville City Council member Mark Miller threatened to stop the county’s plans to renovate the jail and justice center in calls to county commissioners Monday.
Miller made at least three calls to county commissioners Monday, according to sources. He told the commissioners that he would use the powers of the City Council to stop the project. A source said he threatened a quote nuclear option. A source said he told one commissioner that he would prevent the extension of water lines to the renovated facility.
Tuesday, Miller said: “Uhm, I… I don’t… that’s not anything that we… No, we don’t have any power over that.”
Commissioners voted in April to move forward with an expansion project next to the current facility. Miller said that decision had not received enough attention.
“I think during COVID, that nobody knew what was going,” Miller said.
Miller said his concerns about the expansion stems from what it could do to Cookeville’s downtown. Miller said he sees the same issues he has with the jail and justice center expansion, becoming bigger problems.
“In 10 to 15 years whenever there needs to be another jail expansion and there’s no where to go, where do they go next?” Miller said. “Do they start tearing down our historical homes, do they get even closer to Capshaw School?”
Miller said the jail and justice center expansion is not a done deal. Miller said there are multiple steps that the county has not taken.
“They haven’t finalized any deals yet, they haven’t asked to have the debt issuance, they haven’t broken any ground,” Miller said. “So, It’s not a done deal.”