View Full Version : Pontotoc County: Jail bonds to face supervisors again

05-17-2005, 08:01 PM
5/17/2005 3:12:58 PM

Progress Staff Writer

A revised bond issue to build a new jail in Pontotoc County is set to be voted on by the Board of Supervisors Tuesday, May 31.
The $4.5 million bond issue will top the agenda at the last meeting supervisors attend this month.
A revised bond issue has to be voted on because an error in the public legal notice put the assest value of the county at $15 million rather than $150 million last month when the supervisors first advertised for the monies.
If the bonds are issued it will take 2.5 mills to cover the cost of paying them back over a 20 year period. And as county assessed value grows over the years, the millage rate will decline.
If the bonds were issued this year, property owners with a $50,000 home will see an increase of $12.50 per year. And the bond is not applied just to property owners, everyone who buys a vehicle in Pontotoc County will also help pay for the facility.
A 2005 Ford Taurus owner will see an increase of $13.50 per year for their car tag while someone who drives a 2000 Camry will see only a $1.30 increase.
The original bond request of some $5.5 million was scaled back because supervisors took the renovation of the courthouse out of the funding request.
“We are going to other options to fund the courthouse renovation,” said Pontotoc Co. Chancery Clerk Reggie Collums.
No funds are set aside for the work that is currently underway in the courtroom, however Collums said “even if we have to go to the bank and borrow the money we will find a way to pay for the renovations.”
A proposed 100 inmate jail is on the drawing board submitted by Pryor and Morrow architects.
Construction cost estimates run at $4.1 million for the facility. Architectural fees on this estimate will be an added fee of some $200,000.
The plans call for a basic block style jail with a brick facade front, and room in the back of the facility for future growth if necessary.
Anticipating the possible growth the supervisors purchased 23 acres of land where the jail site is proposed to be on Highway 6 West with 10 acres set aside for the corrections facility.
“We have been looking at building a new jail since I came into office more than five years ago,” said Leo Mask, Pontotoc County Sheriff.
The jail is the most crucial money issue in the county because if the federal government closes our present facilities it would cost conservatively an average of $2,400 per day, 365 days per year for a total of $876,000, plus transportation and other associated expense. Also, once under federal mandate the cost of the 100 bed facility would increase by 20 to 30 percent.
Mask said a new jail is a must whether the people decide or “the federal government mandates it, “and we don’t want to pay what the federal government will ask.”
Mask said a jail facility costs millions because it has to be built to the specifications of the federal and state laws.
“Right now in our jail we are housing 55 to 60 inmates a day. Our capacity is 36, so the extra people have to be housed in other facilities.
“The county is spending $50,000 to $70,000 a year to house inmates in other facilities. That money could be saved and put toward a payment on a new jail.
“For instance, this past month we had people in Union, Lafayette and Monroe counties.”
Mask said the crime rate is not going down in the county and “any facility will be a relief but as they say, if you build it they will come.
“When you have growth in a community with low unemployment and high educational standards, the con artists will follow. They want to live somewhere they can break in and steal, make drugs and sell them.”

Appeared originally in the Pontotoc Progress, 5/17/2005, section A , page 1