By Jonathan McNamara
LOUISBURG — Results were presented to the board Monday for final approval of the jail remodel project.
Sept. 3 the county board approved architect Surapon Sujjavanich to negotiate with contractor H.G. Reynolds of Henderson regarding the cost of the construction.
In 1994, the Franklin County jail was constructed at a cost of $5.9 million dollars after the commissioners then elected to make cuts and reject the initial bid of $9.3 million.
In 1996, the board approved construction of the Sheriff’s Office at $436,650, connecting the facility to the jail.
“Seventeen years later we are suffering from the cuts made by the board in an outdated, deteriorating building,” said Franklin County Sheriff Jerry Jones.
Jones, in a plea to the board, requested they not turn a blind eye to the much needed repairs and make shortcuts to save money.
After hearing from Sujjavanich on how he was able to negotiate the bid with H.G. Reynolds down from $3.9 million to $3.5 million by cutting overhead and profit for H.G. Reynolds, the board unanimously approved the jail remodeling project.
The plan to fund the jail project can be accomplished by two options, through a fund balance appropriation and an installment purchase loan.
The remodel includes upgrading security cameras, a separate entrance for magistrates, a new roof, new interior paint, a new laundry facility, paving of the gravel lot and adding a 10-unit isolation area, among other improvements.
“With 17-year-old technology we face the difficult challenge to isolate inmates for medical reasons. Inmates without proper vaccines, viruses like mercer and AIDS have to be secluded,” said Jones.
When the 10-unit isolation area is not being used the Sheriff plans to use the area for holding juveniles. Without a holding area for underage inmates the current method is to transport juveniles immediately to another county’s juvenile detention facility, costing time and money to the county.
•A public hearing was held for the Rural Operating Assistance Program (ROAP). The county is eligible to receive $137,820 in funding in the 2013-14 fiscal year. The funds are disbursed into three categories to include; elderly and disabled transportation ($67,423), employment transportation ($15,141) and elderly transportation ($91, 256).
This allows Franklin County to submit an application for the funding, in return helping the needs of rural low income residents with transportation through the N.C. Department of Social Services, the Kerr Area Rural Transit System (K.A.R.T.S), and the N.C. Department of Aging.
•A public safety study is being conducted for Franklin County developed by Solutions for Local Government Incorporated.
After a comprehensive and objective study of the county’s emergency response services, Solutions for Local Government, will help determine trouble spots for EMS, Fire and 911 services to better respond to emergency situations in a timely manner throughout the county.