3 years at $110,000 a year for jail transition director OK’d by Monroe County, with some grumbles

Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, a rough patch was hit on the road to a new jail for Monroe County.

A disagreement emerged between the sheriff and county commissioners over the funding of someone to direct the transition—from the current jail at 7th Street and College Avenue to a new facility. No location has been decided for a new jail.

Even if the rough patch did not get smoothed out, it’s now in the rear-view mirror.

On Wednesday, Monroe County commissioners approved a change to their ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) plan to include $110,000 a year for three years to fund a contract for someone to serve as director of the jail transition. Of the amount, $10,000 is to cover liability insurance.

The day before, the Monroe County council voted unanimously to appropriate the $330,000. For the county council, the decision was not controversial to use APRA money to fund a contract position for someone who is not now working in the sheriff’s office. Continue reading “3 years at $110,000 a year for jail transition director OK’d by Monroe County, with some grumbles”

Clash over role of future Monroe County jail transition director, possible post-holiday resolution

At their regular Wednesday morning meeting, Monroe County commissioners approved two additional studies of the Thomson PUD property, which is currently being considered as a potential new jail site.

A Phase 2 environmental study, as well as a wetlands delineation, are both to be done by VET Environmental Engineering, for a total of about $20,000.

Even if commissioners have stressed that no decision on a future new jail site has been made, those two studies mark a bit of progress towards the eventual construction of a new jail to replace the facility at 7th Street and College Avenue.  The current jail has been analyzed by a consultant as failing to provide constitutional levels of care.

Not getting any airtime at the commissioners meeting on Wednesday was significant discord that has emerged between the sheriff’s office and the commissioners—about filling a position to direct the transition to a new jail facility.

But that discord looks like it could be on a schedule for some kind of resolution, starting with a joint meeting of the county commissioners and the county council on Monday, Nov. 27.

At the county council’s Tuesday night meeting, council president Kate Wiltz  looked to the end of the month as a timeframe for resolving the sore points.

As a chance to work through some concerns and possibly get a transition director’s contract approved, Wiltz pointed to already scheduled meetings on three successive days—Nov. 27 (joint), Nov. 28 (county council), and Nov. 29 (county commissioners).

The new controversy was aired out at the county council’s regular meeting, which took place on Tuesday night. Continue reading “Clash over role of future Monroe County jail transition director, possible post-holiday resolution”

Monroe County commissioners keen to curb expectations for Thomson site as new jail location

On Thursday, Monroe County commissioners were eager to establish that no decision has yet been reached on a choice of location for a new county jail.

About a minute into a meeting of county elected officials on Thursday afternoon, commissioner Penny Githens said, “I want to state emphatically: No decision has been made yet on the location.”

One idea that might find some traction for an eventual decision about the choice of site came from Bloomington city council president Sue Sgambelluri, who gave public comment at Thursday’s meeting.

Sgambelluri noted that the city council has made it a priority for the new jail to be located inside the city limits, but not for the sake of being inside the city limits. Instead, Sgambelluri said, it is “for the sake of having access to transit.”

Now that the city council has authorized Bloomington  Transit to operate anywhere in Monroe County, Sgambelluri said,  the issue should framed not in terms of inside-versus-outside the city limits, but rather in terms of access to public transit. Continue reading “Monroe County commissioners keen to curb expectations for Thomson site as new jail location”

$40K for required study of new jail feasibility OK’d by Monroe County commissioners

A $40,000 feasibility study for the construction of a new jail was approved by Monroe County commissioners at their regular Wednesday morning meeting.

The work will be done by the RQAW Corporation.

Such a study is required under Indiana state law, before a new jail can be constructed or reconstructed. Also required under state law is a public hearing on the study’s results.

Based on Wednesday morning’s deliberations, RQAW’s work is not expected to be completed before the end of the year. It’s supposed to take at least “eight work weeks” to complete the study.

The move toward constructing a new jail is the county government’s response to the work of consultants,  which was delivered nearly two and a half years ago.  The reports from the consultants concluded that the current county jail facility, at 7th Street and College Avenue, is failing to provide constitutional levels of care. Continue reading “$40K for required study of new jail feasibility OK’d by Monroe County commissioners”