August 12, 2015 Edition

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SouthBuild Team to visit
county, develop jail plan

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

The SouthBuild Team, an architecture firm tasked with developing a plan for a new county jail, will be in Lawrence County for several days to determine structure size, layout and cost estimates, Sheriff Jeff Yates reported at Monday night's Quorum Court meeting.

The firm is expected here starting Tuesday, Aug. 25, and will stay through to the end of the week. While here, they will hold informative sessions in the mornings at the Lawrence County meeting room. The sessions will be open to the public and provide opportunities for input and questions. The first session will be on Aug. 25 and will start about 8:30 a.m., according to Yates.

Yates said the team should have a fully-developed plan for the county before they leave. "The way I understand, they'll have everything ready for us."

Funding the project is still a question for the court, however. Justice Lloyd Clark confirmed that there aren't any available grants to help finance the facility.

A special sales tax remains as the most likely way to fund the project, but the amount needed and how to implement it still have to be determined. Justice Doug Wayland said he estimates it will be around a half-cent or five-eighths-cent increase. Voter would have to approve the tax.

A regional justice facility funded through the state is still a possibility, however Judge Dale Freeman said the county is in danger of being rejected outright due to a recent slew of phone calls received at the governor's office from Lawrence County residents. Freeman said questions regarding a regional complex should instead be directed to the county judge's office.

Also at the meeting,

Freeman reported that he has acquired one of two new road graders on a three-year lease. He also said he has entered a new lease agreement for three Mack trucks and received money back on the previous lease due to the condition of the trucks.

justices passed an ordinance allowing the application for a GIF grant for the sheriff's office. The money, if awarded, will be used to purchase three Chevrolet pick-up trucks.

justices approved selling a county drug dog for $1,500, as there isn't currently a deputy available to work with the dog.

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