Commissioners approve jail feasibility study
by Erin Smith Staff writer
ELIZABETHTOWN — The Bladen County Board of Commissioners approved a feasibility study to be performed by Mosely Architects on the Bladen County Detention Center as part of its consent agenda on Monday. The study will cost $18,750.
“It’s a study to evaluate the county’s long-term jail needs,” said Bladen County Manager Greg Martin.
Martin said the study will look at various costs such as the estimated costs to build a new facility. He added there were also questions regarding the recently shuttered White Lake facility and potentially doing something with it. Martin said the current Bladen County Jail was constructed in the 1960s and houses 71 males and eight females.
“We are exceeding that capacity on a daily basis,” said Martin.
In order to relieve overcrowding, Martin said the county utilizes a pre-trial release program with ankle monitors for those inmates that qualify as well as occasionally housing inmates in other counties.
Martin said there will be a committee appointed that will work with Mosely Architects on the study.
In other business, the commissioners received an update from Martin regarding the federal government shutdown and its impacts on the county.
“Our Human Services programs are primarily being impacted,” said Martin.
He added the discussion was quite lengthy. Programs impacted include WIC which receives about $13,000 in vouchers per week for mothers and children and a child day care subsidy valued at between $70,000 and $80,000 per month, said Martin.
“We talked about a variety of things we could do to make the best of this (situation),” said Martin. “There are considerable concerns …”
Martin said that the county staff could shift some funds in some areas, all hiring is frozen, limiting all travel to what is absolutely necessary and delaying purchases. Martin said the county staff will continue to monitor the situation.
— The board approved the Rural Operation Assistance Program grant application.
— The board received an update on the county’s 4-H program.
— The board scheduled a public hearing for Monday, Oct. 21, at 6:30 p.m. for a proposed amendment to the Bladen County Zoning Ordinance.
— The board approved applying to the Young Families Connect Grant Program and a clinical contract with Bladen Community College.
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