$4.5 million collected for construction of new jail

Published 10:55 pm Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Just 14 months into collections of a temporary sales tax to construct a new jail, the county has already taken in over $4.5 million in revenue.

The Pike County Commission began collecting the sales tax on October 1, 2017, a rate of 1.5 percent in most parts of the county and 0.5 percent within the Troy city limits.

The legislature passed a bill earlier that year put forth by Rep. Alan Boothe and Sen. Jimmy Holley to allow the commission to levy the tax just long enough to collect the money needed to construct a new Pike County jail.

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Over a year later, the commission has not yet decided on an architect or even a site yet for the new facility, but are coming nearer to that decision as public meetings are planned for early 2019 to begin getting public feedback.

The revenue generated so far is well ahead of the schedule originally projected by the commission. Commissioners expected the tax to bring in approximately $2.5 million in annual revenue when they levied the tax.

“We didn’t know exactly what to expect when we made those projections,” said Harry Sanders, county administrator when the tax was passed. “And we don’t know if it’s going to hold out every month, but if it does, ¬it appears the money will amount up pretty quickly.”

TCU Consulting Services, the third party hired to conduct a study for the commission on the new jail, originally presented seven different options to the commission for possible sites and layouts. Six of those plans would keep the jail near its current location next to the Pike County Courthouse and would add two more stories. The other option was to relocate the jail and courts to property the county already owns near the Pike County Road Department, keeping the jail to one-story while moving the courts close enough to walk prisoners to the courtroom.

Another option was recently presented to the commission that would also allow for a one-story jail at the current Dunbar Drive property. The option could also include the courts being moved to that location.

The options range from approximately $20 million to $30 million. As soon as the money is collected to finance the construction of the jail or jail complex, the tax will be removed.

The commission will next meet on Monday, January 14 upstairs at the Pike County Health Department. The work session will begin at 5:15 p.m. and will be followed by a business meeting at 6 p.m. The commission expects to have the public meetings set sometime in January or February.