The Madison County Fiscal Court continues to explore its options on the expansion of the Madison County Detention Center.
Magistrates approved amending a contract with CMW architects on updated designs at a cost of $13,000, which would include three options.
The first concept would be a plan to illustrate the maximum number of beds attainable on the current site. The second would include a maximum number of attainable beds on site using a direct supervision model and the final option would be for a new detention center on a new site, which would be “sized for 800 beds using a direct supervision model.”
First District Magistrate Larry Combs asked “what are we gaining” by adding three updated design concepts. Madison County Judge Executive Reagan Taylor wasn’t sold on the third option of relocating the facility.
“(That is) questionable for me,” Taylor said. “I’m not 100 percent (on board) … It gives the option to do that and we don’t have to bring it back to court. We’ve got to have those options because we’ve got to be able to choose the direction we want to go in.”
The off-site option brings into question the transport of prisoners from the jail to the court system, which can be costly.
“The transportation costs of transporting prisoners between a new facility to the court system can be expensive,” Taylor said.
Third District Magistrate John Tudor and Madison County Sheriff Mike Coyle said the transport of prisoners would place an added financial burden on the county and the possibility of using a camera system within the judicial branch would help off-set the costs if an off-site detention center is constructed and more feasible than expanding the current facility.
“There’s one thing we all agree on and that our jail is way too small,” Taylor said. “We’ve got to do something — adding on to it or (build a new facility). There’s something we’ve got to do. We’ve done a lot of research … and now it’s time to make some decisions. Get some dirt moving and get some things going, because we’re going to end up getting ourselves in big trouble if we don’t do something soon.”
Taylor added he would like to see more space available for groups and programs to help inmates get back on track and added the bottom line is to find ways to save taxpayer money.
“Any way we can be more efficient and save tax dollars, whether it’s indirect or direct, we are elected officials, no matter if you are in the judicial branch or the administrative branch or what level you are at, you should be willing to look at a more efficient way of doing it. I think that’s what we’re trying to do here. We’re trying to determine what do we want? What is the best? It’s hard to project 10, 20 years what our inmate population is going to be.
“The last thing we all want here in making that decision is that we build it too big or we build it too small.”
Magistrates also approved first reading of an ordinance on a jail budget amendment.
In other business:
• Craig Williams, Host Community Liaison, gave an update on the Chemical Weapons Disposal Program, providing a technology summary, current status, employment and financial expenditures, operations projection and economic impact. Operations on the disposal of the weapons stored at the Bluegrass Army Depot are scheduled to begin next month. The operation is scheduled to be complete in 2023 and it will take two years to complete full closure of the facility.
• Agreed to pay $5,200 to Hinkle Environmental Services to cover the costs of a blowout site on the Bogie Mill Slide Project.
• Taylor declared May as Older Americans Month and also Community Action Month, recognizing Kentucky River Foothills.
• Approved a yearly payment to Madison County Clerk Kenny Barger on the boat and vehicle bills.
• Approved the hiring of Grant Fillis (seasonal grounds crew), Andrew Powell (seasonal grounds crew), Kevin Sung Min Kim (seasonal grounds crew) and Tyler Ninness (CDL Driver). Fillis and Powell will start at $8.50 per hour. Kim will make $8.63 per hour. Ninness will work in the road department for $13 per hour.