Commission could reveal alternate jail sites before making selection

Published 10:49 pm Friday, April 5, 2019

TCU Consulting Services has completed its evaluation of four jail sites for the Pike County Commission, comparing the sites on more than 20 different criteria.

Two of those sites have been well publicized: the Dunbar Drive property currently owned by the Troy Housing Authority and the county’s property at the Pike County Road Department.

Two other sites remain a mystery, as consultant Ken Upchurch has said publicizing the two sites could interfere with the commission’s ability to get a good price on the real estate.

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However, Upchurch said that doesn’t mean that the commission will necessarily be picking a mystery site before the location is disclosed to the public.

“I suspect that the commission is going to have to receive public feedback on at least one of the other sites,” Upchurch said. “My recommendation, once they’ve had a chance to review our evaluations, is that they decide on how to proceed in a public meeting.”

The county had up to nine different properties submitted for evaluation, Upchurch said, but only four were considered feasible options to be compared against each other.

Chairman Robin Sullivan said the commission is still awaiting the presentation of the commission’s evaluation during Monday’s meeting in executive session.

“We still haven’t heard anything back from them,” Sullivan said. “That’s what we’re waiting for as the next step.”

Upchurch said commissions he has dealt with in the past have typically had a short session to go over the evaluations and then take the following weeks or even months to pore over the data and ask questions.

“We have not shared the evaluations with anybody yet,” Upchurch said. “We have just finalized the numbers and we’re building the presentations as we speak (Friday). We want (all of the commissioners) to see it at the same time so everyone can hear the same questions and comments.”

Although the evaluation matrix will be for the commission’s eyes only on Monday night, Upchurch said the matrix is typically made public once the commission has made its final decision.

“We recommend that, once the decision is made, they use the criteria to show the rationale for making the decision that they made,” Upchurch said.

One of the criteria included in the matrix is public sentiment, which has been garnered in bulk on the Dunbar site and to a lesser extent the Road Department site; however, the public at large has not yet had a chance to voice concerns or praise for the other two sites as they have remained confidential at this point.

­The commission will hold its regular meeting on Monday, April 8, upstairs at the Pike County Health Department. The work session will begin at 5:15 p.m. and the business meeting will follow at 6 p.m. The executive session will be held at the end of the regular meeting behind closed doors.