March 16, 2011 Edition

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Justices hear report on jail

Leslie L. Ginn
Staff Writer

Mike Kelly and James Langford, representing the SouthBuild Team in construction and architecture management, respectively, spoke to the Quorum Court Monday night regarding one option for plans to build a justice complex, including a jail. SouthBuild of Collierville, Tenn. specializes in building county jails.

"SouthBuild has been in business for 14 years and has built over 40 complexes or rural jails," said Kelly. "We provide the cost estimate after the end of the first week and have never gone over budget."

"Eighty percent of the cost of a jail over the course of 30 years will be in salaries," said Langford, "So we design jails that utilize more indirect supervision, such as cameras, to minimize staffing. This will save the county a lot of money in the long run."

Questions from court members regarding cost and needs exclusive to Lawrence County were discussed after the presentation.

Langford said, "We can build you whatever you need in the way that you need it. Then, five years from now, if your needs change, we will be available to help you move forward or expand if necessary."

Don Scruggs, president of the Egypt fire department, along with Ronny Robinson, Whit Edwards and Trent Edwards, attended the meeting to answer concerns broached during the last meeting regarding fire coverage for Egypt's approximately 40 households.

"Our only concern," said Freeman, "was that we were told Egypt did not have fire protection. We wanted to make sure everyone in Lawrence County was adequately protected."

"Bono Fire Department is responding well to Egypt's needs," said Scruggs.

Freeman announced the possibility of receiving a grant from the Wildlife Recreations Facilities to construct a shooting range for youth. The grant application is due on March 15. And would provide about $40,000. Court members authorized the application for the grant unanimously.

Herb Ginn, extension agent for agriculture and staff chair for the county extension office, briefly discussed the four peanut companies interested in working with peanut growers in Lawrence County and the surrounding areas. He said that there is a water shortage in Texas and disease issues in Georgia that are pushing peanut companies to find new growers in new areas.

"I may be biased, but I believe we have some of the best farmers in the world right here in this county," said Ginn. "This opportunity has long-term potential for Lawrence County."

An Extension production meeting for peanuts is scheduled for Friday, at the NEA Co-op in Walnut Ridge. Specialists from Georgia will be speaking to interested growers. "Peanuts are new to us and it has been a learning process, but we have great U of A support," said Ginn.

In other business,

Court member Doug Wayland was given the authority to investigate options regarding making the courthouse bathrooms handicapped accessible.

A financial cleanup ordinance was passed to cover unbudgeted expenses from 2010 to balance the books.

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