Eight members of the public and two media representatives were present for a public comment period hosted by the Richardson County Commissioners (Tuesday, Feb. 18, meeting) regarding the possibility of converting the Armory building into a jail/law enforcement facility.
No action was taken by the board after hearing comments.
The majority of comments appeared to favor the conversion project. When the county purchased the Armory building, the stated intent was to create a jail/law enforcement center at the site.
A committee appointed by the commissioners voted 9-1 in favor of the project. The commissioners could finance the (approximately) $2 million project through a bond, or they could place the issue on the May primary ballot. The deadline to take a ballot approach is fast approaching (March 1).
Sheriff Randy Houser said some of the preliminary plans for the Armory would not be needed, including restrooms and new offices. Plans are to create a jail with a capacity of 24.
The current Richardson County Jail, while passing inspections, is on thin ice with Jail Standards and has been so for many years. Given its limited space and safety concerns, improvements to the facility would be difficult, at best.
The Journal will take a closer look at this issue in a future edition(s).
In other developments Feb. 18, board members Dave Sickel, Jim Davidson and Jim Standerford:
—Reviewed with Highway Supt. Scott Huppert and Preston Road project and bridge construction projects.
—Met with Ed Parr of Restoration & Waterproofing Contractors, Inc., Topeka, KS, to review the Courthouse restoration project, and moved to approve a change order submitted by the contractor to repair mortar between terra cotta pieces that have deteriorated. The change order is in the amount of $18,683.
—Accepted the (only) bid for mowing for hay at the Armory building submitted by Robert Olberding. The bid was $100 on the 3.5 acres of grass for 2014.
—Clarified that the 2.75% increase for the appraiser position will become effective July 1, 2014.
—Met with Joe Miller of Miller-Monroe to review the development of a safety manual for Richardson County.
—Met as a board of equalization and approved one tax list correction as presented by County Assessor Pam Vice.