Special Meeting To Discuss Proposed New Jail

A special meeting is scheduled Wednesday evening (Jan. 29) for Crawford County leaders to discuss the ballot title for funding the proposed new jail as well as how they’ll pay for operation and maintenance of the facility.

A representative from a bonding company will also be in attendance to speak about the amount of interest to be added as well as a repayment timeline, said County Judge John Hall.

Hall said the details on the jail issue must be ironed out before the February quorum court meeting because the ballot must be approved at least 70 days before the special election in May.

Earlier this month, the quorum court approved asking voters to decide on a half cent sales tax – a quarter of which will go toward construction of the new jail and a quarter going toward operation and maintenance.

The Crawford County Detention Center has failed several state inspections due to overcrowding and insufficient staffing leading to its suspension.

Hall said the county has more than doubled in size since the jail was built approximately 25 years ago, and they need a larger facility.

“We have got to try to deal with this and try to do what we can to keep the public safe,” said Hall.  “That’s what it’s all about is public safety. If we have no way for the courts to punish these people, then they have no fear of the system.”

According to Hall, if voters approve the half cent sales tax, the rate will be about a quarter percent more than neighboring counties.