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County jail may need more funds

Though officials with the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department are working to comply with state regulations, more money may be needed from the county.

Crawford County Sheriff Ron Brown reported to justices of the peace during the quorum court meeting Monday night on what he and his staff are doing to comply with state regulations after being put on probation once again for overcrowding and other violations.

“Basically at this point, the things that can be fixed by me and my staff, we vow to have them fixed by 30 days after we were notified,” Brown told JPs.

Brown gave a list of items already corrected, including replacing old mattresses with fireproof versions, separating inmates by class and scheduling the needed first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) classes.

Brown also has requested a local plumber bring in estimates for adding showers to some previously converted cell blocks so they can be properly isolated, and adding sewer and water lines to the medical area. Costs for the plumbing improvements may have to come in part from county monies.

Other things needed to comply, such as separating the area used for medical from the rest of the multipurpose room where it is now and expanding the kitchen and laundry room to accommodate the population, are long-term issues that will require remodeling, Brown said.

“There’s a lot of things that we just can’t do without the architectural structure of the jail being changed, and that would be up to you all,” Brown told JPs.

Brown also notified JPs that because of the need for more segregation, he will likely be spending an estimated $25,000 per month on housing inmates outside the county, which also may partially have to come from the County General Fund.

After looking into the renewal of the 1 cent sales tax, Crawford County Judge John Hall told JPs that he was mistaken on the necessity of the issue being voted on in 2014. The tax lasts eight years, not seven, and cannot be renewed until 2015.

With that voting issue being set aside for now, Hall said the possibility of a tax to help fund the jail may be back on the table.

Also at the Monday night meeting, vacancies were declared in four county constable positions. Districts 2, 4, 6 and 12 are currently without constables.

Three of those positions - 4, 6 and 12 - did not have anyone elected in 2012 to fill the seats, and Ray Wilbourn, constable for District 2, moved out of his district and was no longer eligible to fill the position. Constable appointments must be chosen by the governor.

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