Commissioners OK regional jail study

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 20, 1999

Freeborn County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday morning to participate in a regional jail study proposed by Steele County.

Wednesday, October 20, 1999

Freeborn County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday morning to participate in a regional jail study proposed by Steele County.

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The study, funded by a state grant, will examine the possibility of regional jail facility that is currently set to be built in Steele County. Space in the facility could be contracted to neighboring counties. However, other options will also be sought.

Steele County Commissioners and other county officials met with Freeborn County Commissioners and Sheriff Don Nolander last Thursday to discuss the study.

Steele County Commissioner Tom Shea told Freeborn County Commissioners that the county’s concerns would likely be addressed in the study. He added that each county would still have its own jail facilities to use, making it easier for inmates on work release. A regional jail could be used for long-term inmates and overflow.

&uot;I don’t see how participation in this (study) could possibly hurt,&uot; said Brian Jordahl, Freeborn County Board Chairman. &uot;This might address some of the county’s future needs.&uot;

The study, which will likely rely on information submitted by the Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office, will also take into consideration demographic projections for Freeborn County and surrounding counties.

&uot;They’re going to gather all of the information. And if nothing else, maybe we can help one of our neighboring counties build a jail,&uot; Jordahl said. He added that the study would provide information about each individual county that is participating, as well as the region as a whole.

Although the final report will not be submitted to the state until January, Jordahl said he sees some benefits of a regional facility.

&uot;There’s possibilities that if we’re running short on space, we can contract with them,&uot; Jordahl said.

In other business:

* The board approved two bids for equipment requested by county Engineer Sue Miller.

A bid for a tractor mower was awarded to Erlandson’s in the amount of $37,490. For a shouldering machine, a bid of $67,390 was awarded to Ruffidge-Johnson.

A bid for $85,370 for materials from Wheeler Lumber to build a salt storage shed was not approved by the board.

The board asked Miller to open the bid. Miller contacted Wheeler Lumber because the county has successfully worked with them in the past, and the company has the hard-to-get Creosote treated timber needed to construct a salt storage shed that would withstand the corrosive of the salt.

* The board approved a request by UNIsite Inc. for a conditional use permit for the construction of a wireless communications tower facility at the each of the following sites: SE 1/4 of the SE 1/4 of Section 34 of Manchester Township, SW 1/4 of the SW 1/4 of Section 2 of Oakland Township, and SE 1/4 of the NE 1/4 of Section 32 of Riceland Township.

* The board approved updating eight miles of fiber optic carrier in Hartland and Manchester.

* The Freeborn County Family Services Collaborative’s annual report was heard and accepted by the board.

* The board approved Public Health Director Lois Ahern’s Community Health Services Plan for 2000-2003.

* The board accepted a plan from the state that would essentially lease cars to the county, rather than having the county buy them from the manufacturers.

Compared to buying the cars, often at a cost lower than what dealers pay, the county would break even, Jordahl said.

But the county would make monthly payments, rather than having to pay so much up front, he said.