Board signs resolution authorizing purchase of new jail

Published 10:15 am Tuesday, March 8, 2022

The Jefferson Davis County Board of Supervisors met Monday for the first March meeting of the month. After opening prayer by Rev. Jessie Holloway, a public hearing was held at the beginning of the Jefferson Davis County Board of Supervisors meeting Monday morning regarding the legal abandonment of Sands Lane and K. C. Trail in District 4 in Jefferson Davis County. No one from the public was present and the board voted unanimously to close both roads permanently.

Sue Fairbank of Butler Snow presented the board with a resolution for signature authorizing the lease purchase for the new detention center. The Butler Snow Law Firm is representing Jefferson Davis County in the process of purchasing and building the new detention center in Prentiss.

“Approving the resolution would be approval also of the issuance of certificates of participation which would finance the facility in the amount of, not to exceed 7.8 million dollars,” said Fairbank. “We are also asking those certificates will be placed with The First bank in Hattiesburg at an interest rate of 2.30 percent.” Other documents in connection to the approval signed by the board are a lease to purchase agreement, a ground lease, a trust agreement and a private placement agreement.

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The board approved to approve the resolution and all documents unanimously.

David Marsh of Benchmark Construction Corporation of Jackson will guide them through the process with plans, design and construction of the project.

The center will cost roughly $6.8 million dollars to build and will involve the need of additional tax revenue. The board plans to reallocate tax millage, as well as, raise the millage to offset the cost. According to the board, the millage increases will be small. For example, if you have a $100,000 home, it will cost an additional $1 to $3 a month or $12 to $36 a year. Currently, 1 mill equals approximately $95,000. The county anticipates increasing the millage 1.2 to 3 mills to allow for the construction and possible increase in operational and staffing costs. At present, there are 30 inmates in the Jefferson Davis County jail. The new detention center will house 52 inmates, which could cause a potential increase in expenses. The board will increase the millage for the 2022-2023 fiscal year.

“This new center absolutely necessary,” said District 1 Supervisor Corky Holliman.

The board began making plans for the new detention center in September 2021.

The four-acre site for the new center will be in Prentiss across just south of the Highway 13 and Highway 84 interchange at the frontage road.

Along with the 52-bed center, there will be separate areas for females and males and offices for the sheriff and staff. This property is already owned by the county and according to the supervisors, is a flat area that will only need minimal preparation. The board will begin dirt work on the site next week, weather permitting, with construction of the building beginning this summer.  The board is hopeful the center will be complete in 2023.

“Our biggest concern is the safety and security of the community,” said Rushing.

Jefferson Davis County Circuit Clerk Clint Langley made a request to have all marriage license books digitized, the item was tabled for future discussion.

The mask mandate for all county buildings remains in effect for the next month. The board will revisit the mandate in April.

In other board news, the board approved the following without opposition:

  • Approved minutes.
  • Approved board president signing memorandum of agreement with MS Department of Archives and History for courthouse grant.
  • Approved board president signing employer’s cafeteria plan.
  • Approved board president signing support letter for Southern MS Planning and Development on a Blue Economy grant proposal.
  • Approved purchase of tractor on state contract-District 3.
  • Approved overage on purchase order for gasoline.
  • Approved employee action forms.
  • Approved employees attending meetings and conventions.
  • Approved reimbursement to employees.
  • Approved use of credit card for purchase of tractor part.
  • Approved payment of invoice without a purchase order.
  • Approved payment of invoices totaling $39,785.
  • Approved donation of topsoil and field dirt.
  • Approved to obtain quotes on a new roof at DHS building.
  • Approved to obtain quotes for generator for jail.
  • Approved tax levy disbursement for county fire departments.
  • Approved claims.