In July 16 IssueBy Greg WellsTimes Journal Managing Editor
The Russell County Fiscal Court gave final approval for the issuance of just over $5 million in bonded debt and authorized Branscum Construction to begin the bidding process for construction of a new 83 bed jail in the county.
Preliminary cost estimates on the project, according to a Branscum estimate based on the new plan, was $4.6 million.
Bills for rock and for site grading work were paid by the court and Coroner Larry Skaggs reminded the court that he had been promised a building at the new jail.
He was told that the plan was to construct a building across the driveway from the jail, but it would come after the jail was completed.
The issue of drug testing re-emerged at the court's Monday noon meeting.
County Judge-Executive Mickey Garner and a few others on the court continued their opposition to the expansion of drug testing for county employees.
Magistrate Greg Popplewell read the just-approved minutes of the last meeting back to the court to address a statement by Garner and then stressed that he simply wants to see the county participate in the "Drugfree workplace" program.
Garner said the price he'd told the court that the county would be paying was incorrect.
"Here, Brian Walters gave me this," Garner said as he handed the estimate to Popplewell. "Oh, all the other magistrates have one I just forgot to give you yours."
On further questioning of the situation Magistrate Gary Robinson pointed out that even at the higher rate the county would save enough on insurance to pay for just over three tests a month.
In the end the issue was tabled, so more information could be collected.
The court did approve a proposal by Eagle Scout candidate Alex Marson. He asked for help with cleaning up a stream and some property at the Union Chapel Elementary School.
His plans include an outdoor classroom area with butterfly garden and other features.
Garner told the court that they could approve the use of county equipment for the project and that it would be done on a Saturday, when county workers could "volunteer" their time.