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Boothe, Holley give update on prisons

As Brundidge continues to consider the possibility of lobbying for a prison in the city, two of Pike County’s leaders in the state Legislature have given an update on prison reform.

“The whole issue is being relooked at by Gov. (Kay) Ivey,” said Sen. Jimmy Holley, R-Pike. “I’m not on the committee, so I haven’t attended any hearings. I think everything is back on the table including the old plan. Our vantage point is looking at whether you can do the same thing with less money.”

Rep. Alan Booth, R-Pike, said that his biggest concern is keeping jobs for those in his district.

“A lot of Pike people employed by prison system,” Boothe said. “There are prisons in Bullock County, Clio and Barbour County. I’m hesitant to support something that would cost this district jobs. I would not support moving everything away from here Clio Barbour County. They’re within easy travelling distance and you’ve got Bullock County in Union Springs. I want to make sure those people aren’t losing their jobs before I sign anything.”

Holley echoed those sentiments.

“That’s one of the main things,” Holley said. “Hopefully that region right in there will continue to be a focal point of whatever changes are made in construction of new prison systems. I think a reasonable driving distance is one of the measures we would give to wherever we locate or relocate or remodel a prison – for those people to be able to be employed.”

Boothe and Holley said without knowing what the state is going to do, it is too early for them to say what role Brundidge could play in the mix.

The Brundidge City Council was presented a contract at its September 5 meeting that would engage the firm of Butler Snow LLP as the lobbying agent in the city’s efforts to be considered as a site for the construction of a new correctional facility for the State of Alabama.

The firm’s fee would be $60,000, payable at $5,000 per month. The city would also be responsible for the reimbursement for all necessary and reasonable expenses incurred in providing the services. The fee did not include the need for legal services, which can be performed only by attorneys and legal staff.

The council ultimately tabled the item for a later meeting and has not said when the issue might come back up again for consideration.

Mayor Isabell Boyd said it is important to give residents time to weigh the decision before the vote comes back up.