Jail Options

By: Alana Adams
By: Alana Adams

Bay County commissioners have yet to decide what to do about the Bay County Jail, but in a four to one vote, commissioners approved plans to purchase 16 acres of property from the St. Joe Company with the purpose of expanding the annex on the site.

The land is valued at $5,000 an acre, totaling $80,000 for the entire property.

Shelly Hickman neighbors the annex and is still wary about a large scale move in the area.

"When I bought, I knew the annex was there. They're very good neighbors. I do not have a problem with them as I've told all of you. I do not want the county jail there."

But no specific decisions have been made about moving the jail or expanding the annex. Commissioners postponed a decision and scheduled a public workshop to discuss the details.

Commissioners Thomas and Jerry Girvin agree using one company to build and operate a new or expanded jail is one option to consider to ensure an efficient facility, but chairman George Gainer says using two companies, one to build or expand the facility and another to run it, could be cost-saving as well.

"I don't think there's any problem with an experienced company being able to figure that out."

Girvin doesn't want the cheapest bidder to design a jail that isn't cohesive with an efficient facility.

"I would hate to say, bring us a cheap jail."

Commissioner Jerry Girvin even suggested the county staff take a look at another option of moving the jail and annex to a completely different site. Commissioners and the public will have more time to iron out the details and destination in just two weeks.

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