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Jail committee to meet Monday

Crawford County officials are hoping to determine support from justices of the peace for a sales tax measure to pay for a new jail at a jail committee meeting rescheduled for Monday.

JP Lloyd Cole, head of the jail committee, set the meeting for 6:30 p.m. at the Crawford County Circuit Courtroom No. 2, 220 S. Fourth St., in Van Buren.

Chronic overcrowding, under-staffing, improper inmate segregation and inadequate space, among other things, have caused the Crawford County Detention Center to fail inspection several times. The jail has been on probation since November 2011.

Several county officials have been working on plans for a new or expanded jail since at least that time.

Crawford County Judge John Hall is encouraging all members of the quorum court to attend the meeting to ask questions and discuss concerns regarding the plans for a new county jail and a tax issue to fund it, he said.

Hall’s main goal for the meeting is to find out how many JPs support the tax issue and how many do not, he said.

“On this issue we need to know how much support the quorum court is going to give,” Hall said.

Voters have defeated proposals to fund a new jail through a sales tax three times before. In previous statements, Hall has blamed lack of support from quorum court members on the failure of those proposals.

According to a meeting agenda sent out by Cole, JPs attending the meeting will review the pros and cons of three architectural jail proposals and hear the committee recommendation.

They also will be updated on the progress toward a proposed jail including expected costs to build and maintain it, hear the committee’s recommendation on the proposed tax increase and help develop a plan to inform the public of any decisions made by the quorum court.

“All of these things need to be discussed with the quorum court to determine what they want,” Hall said.

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