Juvenile Detention Center: Building contract re-bids set May 23

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 14, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

Efforts to establish the Dallas County Detention Center are still underway, but in the meantime, finding a place for sentenced juveniles is still proving to be a difficult task.

The Hale County Detention Center serves as Dallas County’s primary facility to house juveniles, but when there are no beds available, other detention facilities must be sought.

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“(We) spent almost one day and one night trying to place a juvenile,” County Commission Chairman Kim Ballard said of a recent juvenile case at Monday’s commission meeting.

After numerous phone calls, a bed was found at the Shelby County Juvenile Facility for $102 per day. Had the bed not been available, the juvenile would have been free to go, despite having committed a crime.

“We did not want this child back on Selma’s streets,” Ballard said.

The county currently spends over $250,000 per year to house juveniles in other facilities.

Last year the commission agreed those dollars would be best kept in the county and the juveniles would be better off housed closer to home. Architectural plans for the future facility have been submitted and bidded on by local contractors.

“Bids for the juvenile center came in much higher than the architect expected,” Ballard said.

The re-bid will take place May 23 at 10 a.m. in the commission courtroom, located in the Courthouse Annex.

County Engineer George E. Jones Jr. gave an update on County Road 145, saying the asphalt work should be “complete this week.”

What’s so important about County Road 145? Well, according to officials, the road has “cut down the drive from Craig Field to Hyundai (in Montgomery) several miles.”

“That makes us extremely competitive to get new industry through here,” Moore said. “From Highway 41 all the way to Highway 80, people coming from Hyundai here have caught on.”

The road project – ongoing for four years – was realized “only with assistance from the state” and State Senator Hank Sanders, D-Selma, Ballard said.

The Commission will not meet on May 28, as regularly scheduled, in observance of Memorial Day.

In other business:

Krystal Dozier approach the commission asking them to participate in Relay for Life by agreeing to have whipped cream pies thrown in their faces – for fun of course.

The commission approved a meeting between County Attorney John Kelly III and the E-911 attorney concerning legalities of the county’s possible participation the U.S. Census Bureau’s LUKA program.

The installation of automatic handicapped doors will be placed on first reading for the next meeting.

The commission approved the installation of new 35-foot lighting poles and the removal of the 25-foot poles at the Dallas County Jail, increasing illumination and saving the county $914.83 per month.

The Revs. Leonard King and Elanor Smith approached the commission asking for funding for a Summer Youth Program. Funding will be considered pending the submission of a budget and not-for-profit certification.

Linda Blevins and daughter Pamela Blevins approached the commission concerning the paving of County Road 263. “Everything is orange,” Pam said of the dust coming from the road. Moore told the ladies he’d visited the site and plans to pave the road when funds become available.

The commission approved Camp Perry Varner Director Ocie Acoff’s request to participate in the June “I Care” Workshop.