Lee County Jail Expansion Vote
TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) – A proposal for renovating and expanding the Lee County Jail fails at a regular meeting of the board of supervisors.
Supervisors nixed the latest proposal by a vote of 3 to 2.
This plan would have budgeted $8,000,000 for an expansion and renovation plan that called for a new 100 bed jail pod, new administrative space, and improved medical and laundry facilities .
Sheriff Jim Johnson says the vote means he will keep the current inmate count fewer than 200.
“There’s going to be people who are out, in society who would normally be incarcerated, but the general public has to understand, if I only have so much room and this problem has been addressed and addressed and you’ve been warned, it will be hard to be mad at me when I implemented a plan I told you was going to happen,” Sheriff Johnson said.
Earlier this year supervisors voted down a proposed $51,000,000 justice complex, saying the projected tax hike was simply too much. Board president Phil Morgan says he was comfortable with the latest proposal.
“A minimal amount, of increase in taxes, it would have at least got us off dead center, in a year we could be in the facility and address issues we are at now,” Morgan said.
But district 5 supervisor Billy Joe Holland wanted more specifics.
“I dont have any problem with four and half million on one hundred bed addition but renovation of the old jail, don’t anybody have a plan, saying you are going to pitch two and a half million dollars to renovate it, is that going to be enough,” Holland said.
Holland believes the issue will be tackled after the holidays.
Lee County is under contract with Tupelo to house that city’s prisoners until April 2019. The county is under no contract with any other municipality.
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