Commissioners, sheriff still disagree on jail


The County Commissioners and Sheriff John Brown still haven't agreed on the best way to increase capacity at the detention center, and both sides presented different expansion plans yesterday.

Sheriff Brown, who has opposed plans by past commissioners for a modular addition, proposed adding 92 beds to the facility. Last summer, the previous Board of Commissioners agreed to renovate a deputy training area, adding 24 beds and brining capacity to about 140.

Warden Mason Waters presented the plans to Commissioners W. Benjamin Brown and Donald I. Dell yesterday.

Mr. Waters said that if a third floor later was added to the two-story structure, the capacity would increase to 318 beds and serve the county until well into the 21st century.

The warden said the cost of construction for the planned addition and adding a third floor would be about $5 million.

Allegany County recently built a new 200-bed facility at a cost of more than $13 million, Mr. Waters told the commissioners.

The new plan would add more beds and require less demolition of the existing jail than a previously planned 80-bed expansion.

The county had begun planning about five years ago to build the 80-bed addition, but bids came in about $1 million higher than county officials had estimated. Bids for the addition ranged from $3 million to $3.5 million.

In 1993, Commissioner Dell had suggested building a new detention center will all modular cells, perhaps near Northern Landfill in Reese, but that suggestion was not supported by either the sheriff or the other two commissions at the time, Julia W. Gouge and Elmer C. Lippy.

"Two new schools could be built at the cost of constructing a new jail away from the present building, because a new site would require new food service, medical services and other services already available at the jail," Mr. Waters said.

Mr. Dell yesterday presented a plan of construction in Montgomery County, where a detention center was built with prefabricated cells at a cost of $30,000 per cell. Commissioner Dell asked the sheriff and warden to inspect the facility.

Also at the meeting, Sheriff Brown told the commissioners he returned $115,000 to Carroll County from his work-release program in fiscal year 1994. Through the first nine months of this fiscal year, he said, he has returned $127,900. The sheriff said he expects to return a total of $150,000 by July 1.

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