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Public presentation of jail site evaluations pushed back

In May, the Pike County Commission tentatively set June 10 as the meeting that consultant Ken Upchurch would publicly reveal the results of an evaluation on four potential sites for a new jail.

Commissioners confirmed Tuesday that the presentation of the results will have to wait until at least the June 24 meeting as Upchurch completes follow-up questions brought forward by the commission.

“We’ve really got to see the report he’s coming back with,” said Commissioner Chad Copeland, District 4. “It should be between June 10 and June 24 that we get that. We really need to see that report and digest some of those questions we had, so we’re still waiting for now.”

Chairman Robin Sullivan said the commission may even review the updated report from Upchurch in executive session at the June 24 meeting and have him return for the first July meeting to present the results publicly before a vote of the commission.

“Normally what we would do is ingest what is given to us and vote at the following meeting,” Sullvan said.

The commission narrowed the selection pool to four possible jail sites that TCU Consulting Services then evaluated on a matrix of criteria to score each site. Those scores have thus far been shared with the commission behind closed doors in executive session, so that the commissioners can discuss the sites freely without jeopardizing any negotiating leverage.

Two of the sites have been publicly revealed – the Troy Housing Authority’s Dunbar Drive property and the county’s land next to the Pike County Road Department.

The housing authority received federal approval last week to dispose of the Dunbar property, and will require at least 90 days for residents to be relocated before the property can be disposed and sold. All residents would have to be secured in housing with equal rent as they are currently paying before any action could be taken.

The other two sites remain undisclosed by the commission.

“We agreed to not just bring it up and vote on it,” said Commissioner Russell Johnson, District 6. “Ken Upchurch going to talk about the evaluations in public before the vote. We’re going to announce that and let it be known about when we are going to decide on the jail, we will not be bringing it out of the blue.”