Funding Could Delay New Dodge County Jail

7:24 AM, Mar 30, 2011   |    comments
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The move-in date for the new Dodge County jail remains up in the air.

Construction should wrap up in the next month, but the county commission could delay the opening because of lack of funding.

The current jail was built in 1972 and poses several problems including not meeting modern fire codes.

Sheriff Jeff Hinson says, "The old jail we have now is very cramped. It's not up to date."

Construction on the new jail began about a year ago and is almost complete. However, the sheriff may have to wait to move in.

Hinson says, "They allowed us $662,000 this year to operate the jail off of. That's this jail and opening the new jail. It's not enough money."

He says, "So, what they've proposed to do is wait until September to open."

The new jail will hold about twice the number of inmates as the old one, but with that comes the cost of adding personnel to the sheriff's office. That costs the county some extra cash.

Dodge County Commission Chairman Dan McCranie says, "We knew we'd have more expenses, but we were thinking the design would be personnel-efficient, but you know it's going to be more personnel, I think, than even we realized."

The new jail requires a minimum of 17 extra people on staff. A cost of more than $370,000.

The county may not have the money to budget for that, so commissioners could delay opening until they find out about sales and property tax revenue.

McCranie says, "There's a lot of things we've been looking at trying to do as far as dealing with the sales tax figures that have dropped and the property values that have dropped. It's just affecting the county government a good bit."

For now, the sheriff makes do with the old building and waits to move into the new one.

Hinson says, "I'm not going to take a chance on my guys getting hurt because somebody didn't want to spend a dollar."

McCranie says a SPLOST that passed a couple of years ago paid for the new jail.

Dodge County doesn't have enough room in the current jail for all of their inmates. They have to house some in surrounding counties, costing about $35 a day per inmate.

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