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Regional Prison Is No Longer An Option For Jail Replacement

By David Howell

WATER VALLEY – The hope that state legislators would provide an answer to Yalobusha County’s aging jail problem was dashed after multiple Senate and House bills authorizing a regional jail in one or more counties did not make it out of committees.

    Building a regional jail in the county has been identified by Yalobusha supervisors as an option to replace the aging 1964-model jail that has been the subject of scrutiny in the last year. In previous years, state lawmakers have authorized  a handful of regional jails across the state – an arrangement that allows the county to borrow the money to build the facility. In turn, the state agrees to pay a daily rate for a set number of state prisoners housed. This agreement allows the county to recoup much of the expense incurred by the county to construct and operate the jail

    The topic surfaced at last Wednesday’s recessed supervisor meeting  held in Water Valley, when supervisors heard an update from the county’s economic development director, Bob Tyler.

    “All of the bills have died,” Tyler told supervisors.

    Sheriff Lance Humphreys was also at the meeting and reported he had worked with State Representative Tommy Reynolds and State Senator Gray Tollison before the bills died.

    Tyler also said he had talked with Irb Benjamin, a jail consultant hired by the county to lobby legislators in Jackson to pass a bill authorizing the regional jails.

    “He sent me an email about the jail situation,” Tyler told supervisors. “He has another idea, another approach.”

    Supervisors agreed to meet with Benjamin at their next meeting.

    Tyler also updated supervisors on other projects his organization has on the agenda, including looking at options to obtain funding from the stimulus package for needs in the county.

    Among other business discussed at the meeting includes:

    • Approved a temporary beer permit for VFW Post 4100 located just outside Water Valley. The post had previously been granted a permit, but the commander at the VFW has changed.

    • Deferred a request for travel from Justice Court Judge Steve Riley to attend a Professional Judicial Development conference at the Silver Star Hotel. A decision will be made at the March meeting, after supervisors determine if the travel expenses were included in his budget.

    • Approved a request from Circuit Court Daryl Burney to transfer $1,500 into his juror account to finish out jury payments made in February for two grand jury sessions.

    Burney also said he needed an additional $8,000 to cover jury expenses for two weeks of Circuit Court scheduled in March.

    • Approved a request to refund $108  to Dorris Massie on behalf of Mrs. Roy Porter, passed away last April.  Mrs. Porter had paid her garbage bill in advance.

    • Increased District Two employee Henry Jenkins’ monthly salary from $1,875 to $1,900 monthly.

    • Approved four applications from logging companies to exceed the posted weight limit on county roads. The applicants include Tim Wilder on County Roads 82, 132 and 215 in District One; Fly Timber company on County Roads 122 and 223 in District Two; Timberland Harvesters LLC on  County Roads 222 and 215 in Districts One and Five; and Fly Timber Company on County Road 2 in District Five.

    • Transferred funds from the general fund to the sheriff’s park patrol fund. Chancery Clerk Amy McMinn told supervisors that money from the U.S. Corps was coming in a little slow and the transfer was needed to cover a vehicle payment and payroll.

    Each month the sheriff’s department receives a payment from the Corps for patrolling at Enid and Grenada Lakes.

    • Entered executive session to discuss an employee matter and a lawsuit.

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