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6/6/2017 - Decatur County Commissioners Meeting
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The Decatur County Commissioners met Monday morning. The commissioners were presented, and approved, a hold harmless agreement that will be executed as part of the adopt-a-highway program. Individuals and companies taking part in the program will be required to clean up and mow their portion of the roadway a minimum of 3 times per year. Highway Superintendent Mark Mohr told the commissioners that he expects to have roads identified for the Community Crossing Grant project within the next 2 weeks. The county share to receive the $1 million dollar grant has been reduced to $330,000 in a 2/3 and 1/3 match. Mr. Mohr also told the commissioners that, pending the weather, backfill and dirt work for CR 300 N should be finished this week, with the focus then going to CR 180 E. He also provided the commissioners with the 2016 annual report. Scott Chastain briefed the commissioners on the need for a new ambulance. The commissioners asked for more information on types of vehicles and pricing at the next meeting.
The commissioners then conducted an information meeting on a potential new jail project. An engineering consultant from DLZ provided information on the project, process, and cost of a new facility or an expansion of the current jail. Based on current projections from 2020-2040, Decatur County will need approximately a 230 bed facility. Expansion of the current jail to 164 beds would cost an estimated $20 million, while a new facility with 230 beds could be built for about $25 million. An Indiana Department of Corrections jail inspector discussed actions that the state could take if the current overcrowding continues long term. Another concern is whether overcrowding could subject the county to any type of court action. Decatur County Sheriff Greg Allen updated the commissioners on the current jail population of 103 as well as 10 other prisoners housed out of county at a cost of $35-$65 per day, depending on location. Circuit Court Judge Timothy Day, Superior Court Judge Matthew Bailey, and Prosecuting Attorney Nathan Harter provided information on trends and diversion programs within the county. Mr. Harter expressed concern that, with an increase of probation cases from 300 to 500 in the past 2 years and the number of warrants in the system, the inmate population could quickly exceed even the number of beds shown in the proposal. The commissioners will review the information prior to the meeting before deciding to forward the proposal for consideration by the county council. Based on recently approved legislation, the county council does have the authority to impose a special levy income tax of no more than .065 percent to be used solely for the jail, including operating expenses.
The county commissioners will hold their next meeting on Monday, June 19th at 8:00 am at the Decatur County Courthouse.
Tom Flemming - WTRE News
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Decatur County Commissioners June 5th 2017
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