Commisioners consider jail renovation request

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Walworth County Commissioners authorized Chief Deputy Josh Boll Tuesday, July 3, to get a quote or estimate for converting the existing locking mechanism for the booking area doors to be replaced with a swipe/electronic strike locking system.
The system would be similar to what is found in hotels. On the very exterior doors of the garage, a speaker system would be used to communicate a visitor’s reason for their visit. A few companies were contacted with two requiring $5,000 to travel here just to look at the system, Boll said.  Matt Ashe, Watertown, does the cameras in the jail already and gave a quote and would do the work himself. Matt is familiar with the facility, Boll continued, and would like to see the board consider going with Ashe.
Boll also requested more direction in regard to the particulars in the maintenance and upgrading of the “old” section of the jail. At the June 7, meeting Boll said that “bars and padlocks don’t cut it anymore and are not safe,” and a fund should be set aside for building improvements. Boll said he had hesitated to make these requests because of budget constraints. One contributing factor is that juveniles are sometimes housed in the “old” sections because they must, by law, be housed out of sight and sound of the adult population. There is someone, Boll said, that will come and look at the facility to see what it is that commissioners want to do. They work with two independent companies that would complete the work, and Boll said, it is his understanding that they would use local contractors but would oversee the project.
Included in the project is the structure itself, walls, windows, flooring issues, jail doors and fire escape routes.
He noted that grants that were once plentiful including Homeland Security and Highway Safety have been severely reduced and some may have been eliminated.
“We need to do something,” he said, “because of safety and liability risks to the citizens, employees, and inmates.”
The following pieces of property were declared surplus and will be sold at public auction on Tuesday, Aug. 7: Java, a commercial building on site located between 4103 and 4111 Main Street; Lowry, a vacant corner lot located at Jackson Street/Anderson Avenue; three pieces of property in Mobridge, a vacant lot located at 310 Fifth Avenue East, a house and garage located at 619 First Street East, and a mobile home and garage located at 605 Fifth Avenue East. Auditor Gwenn Ackerman reported that there is already interest in property commonly known as the “Shillingstad” property.
In other business, commissioners:
• Heard Boll and Jail Administrator Josh Nelson discuss the need to offer jailers a cash incentive to purchase uniforms to provide for a professional appearance.
• Heard Commissioner Jerry Frailing report that Lake Molstad Park may eventually have to be closed because of the lack of volunteers to keep it up. The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks, Frailing said, maintains the boat ramp.  Although on the South Dakota Register of Historic Places, there is no money to restore the bathhouse.
– Sandy Bond –

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