Jackson Co. supervisors calculate jail price tag

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The price tag for the new Jackson County Jail continues to climb by millions of dollars, and it's not even off the drawing board. County supervisors are calculating how much money to borrow to build the new jail without raising taxes on county residents.

Jackson County Supervisor John McKay admits when voters rejected a multi-million dollar bond issue in 2008, the process became a lot more expensive.

"The jail prices have escalated, and the construction cost has escalated."

If the bond had passed, taxpayers were looking at a $22 million bill to replace the county's old, outdated adult detention center.  Now, Pryor & Morrow Company's new 836 bed design will cost around $10 million more. McKay said that's why he and his fellow supervisors have to lock down a final cost and stick to it.

"Find out how much money the max amount is we can borrow without a tax increase," McKay said. "We are going to have some alternates that we could bid. One alternate will be removing a dormitory section, which may save us a million dollars."

Supervisor Mike Mangum agrees a solution should be reached soon to move forward with construction.

"I am hoping we are able to go to bid on the project, that we get good competitive bids and we build a jail," Mangum said.

Supervisor Melton Harris said he refuses to rush the process.

"Never can I recall that the county has been involved in an investment of this magnitude," Harris said. "We should take our time and progress on it as slow as possible to make sure we make the best decision possible."

Supervisor John McKay said the county should have an exact amount it will borrow by the end of the month, but no later than the first week in August. County supervisors met in executive session Thursday for more than an hour to discuss these funding issues. On July 31, the county will also hear from firms about more affordable design concepts.

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