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Jail feasibility study nears completion

The providers of a jail feasibility study for the Pike County Commission say they’re nearing completion on their report.

“We are optimistic that we will be ready to present our report to the Commission in late January or early February,” said Ken Upchurch, cofounder of TCU Consulting Services, the provider of the study.

The first part of the study involves compensation and job classification for the new facility.

“We are complete with the data collection and analytics for the sworn officers and have developed a recommended salary schedule for those officers,” Upchurch said. “To date, we have interviewed sworn officers for every current job position in order to evaluate how the officers are currently assigned and the duties they perform. We are currently finalizing the job descriptions for each position.

“We will start the data collection on all other Pike County Job Classifications in early January.”

The feasibility study itself has also made progress.

“We are complete with the data collection and analytics,” Upchurch said. “ We have met with the Detention Facility employees, the Sheriff and the Judges to review the data analytics and with their collective input we believe that the data to be used as the basis for the Detention Facility Feasibility is credible.

“Additionally, we have met with the Detention Facility employees, the Sheriff and the Judges to determine their wants, needs and vision for the components of the new facility. We have also discussed various sites as possible locations for the facility.

“Currently we are completing our number of bed count, building schematic floor plans and beginning to work on staffing models and operational cost models. We will meet with the stakeholders in early January to begin the next round of discussions on our work to date.”

The study began in September and is entering its fourth month in January,

TCU was hired to give the commission a third-party outlook on the construction of a new facility after concerns about the structural integrity of the current jail.

The commission passed a temporary sales tax of 1.5 percent countywide except within the City of Troy, where it is raised .5 percent, to fund the construction and feasibility study.

The sales tax has been in effect since the beginning of October this year.

There is not yet a timeline on when the new jail facility may be constructed, but officials expect the sales tax to generate enough revenue to cover the cost of construction within five or six years.