Archived Story

Committee to discuss new jail

Published 5:21pm Friday, August 30, 2013

Beaufort County’s jail committee meets Wednesday to continue its work related to building a new jail.

The committee’s focus will be on planning for building the new jail at the Chocowinity Industrial Park. The committee meets at 3:30 p.m. at the county’s administrative offices, 121 W. Third St., Washington.

Last month, the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners voted 4-3 to not locate the jail at the Beaufort County Industrial Park, which had previously been selected to house the new jail. Voting for the new site were board Chairman Jerry Langley and commissioners Al Klemm, Ed Booth and Robert Belcher. Voting against it were commissioners Hood Richardson, Stan Deatherage and Gary Brinn.

Earlier this year during a board retreat, the board voted to locate the jail at the Beaufort County Industrial Park, which is on the north side of the Pamlico-Tar River. The Chocowinity site is south of the river.

The board, also with a 4-3 vote, formed a new jail committee (Langley, Brinn and Klemm as its members) and charged it with determining if the Chocowinity site is feasible for a jail, overseeing the design of the jail and determining costs to build the jail.

At the board’s August meeting, Richardson said the new jail committee is nothing more than a “yes-man committee” that will give Langley the jail he wants. Richardson also said there’s no need for the committee to determine if the Chocowinity site is feasible for a jail because that industrial park is in the process of being certified by the state as an industrial park that could accommodate a jail.

Richardson also questioned the need for a new jail, saying other alternatives, including continuing to use the existing jail, have not been thoroughly considered. Deatherage supports building a new jail, but he wonders if county taxpayers would be willing to approve issuing bonds to pay for it.

Booth said he’s not satisfied with either industrial park housing a new jail.

Brinn said the commissioners should not “rush to judgment” when it comes to building a new jail. He said the county needs to carefully consider a location for a new jail, the cost of building a new jail

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