Board OKs jail-related items

Published 6:11pm Wednesday, November 6, 2013

With a pair of 4-3 votes, the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners is moving ahead with plans to build a new jail.

During its meeting Monday, the board approved seeking qualifications from entities interested in doing architectural-design work for a new jail. It also approved seeking qualifications from entities interested in providing construction-management services regarding the building of a new jail.

The decisions do not commit the county to spending money to build a new jail, which would be located in the Chocowinity Industrial Park.

Voting for the two items were board Chairman Jerry Langley and commissioners Ed Booth, Robert Belcher and Al Klemm. Commissioners Hood Richardson, Gary Brinn and Stan Deatherage opposed the items.

Richardson, Brinn and Deatherage contend a new jail is not needed. They believe the existing jail is adequate to meet the county’s jail needs. They have said Beaufort County taxpayers cannot afford to pay for a new jail.

Richardson told the commissioners who voted for the architectural item that they have already “picked your man” for that work.

Jim Chrisman, the county’s finance director and assistant county manager, said that when it comes to architectural firms seeking the work, “We’ve got a list of four or five who have expressed interest.”

In other business, the board directed attorney David Francisco, who is handling some property-related issues for the county, to sell nine land parcels the county owns. The parcels are scattered through five townships.

The parcels will be sold by the sealed-bid process. Bids will be opened at noon Dec. 10 at the county administrative offices, 121 W. Third St., Washington. Bid offer sheets are available at those offices. Offers are subject to acceptance and confirmation by the county. A 5-percent bid deposit is required.

The parcels are being sold because taxes on them have not been paid. The minimum bid for each parcel has been set at the amount of taxes owed on it, but the commissioners retain the option of accepting a bid lower than the amount of the owed taxes.


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