Site for jail moved

Published 5:21 pm Thursday, August 8, 2013

If a new jail is built in Beaufort County, it’s likely to be located at the county-owned Chocowinity Industrial Park.

During its meeting Monday, 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.

Richardson said the 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, how to pay for a new jail and other alternatives to building a new jail.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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