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Questions about jail project raised

The Walworth County Commission Tuesday, July 3, discussed the proposed jail project, but did not take a vote to move forward.
Commissioner Kevin Holgard presented a proposal for inmate contracts that called for money upfront from area counties in order to reserve beds in the new jail. He said Walworth County needed to try and get guaranteed contracts from these counties that would be due in January to reserve a certain number of beds in the new jail.
Holgard said all other inmate housing costs should be set at $125 per day.
There was discussion about this proposal being too expensive for the smaller inmate volume counties.
Chairman Scott Schilling said he didn’t feel like there were other options presented other than the 70-bed project that was presented by Brad Hompe, the jail consultant the commissioners had hired to review the current situation and present a jail project proposal to the commission. He said he would like to have other options than just the 70-bed jail in that proposal.
It was decided the jail committee would need to discuss the situation further and that meeting was set for Tuesday, July 10.
Nurse hired
Walworth County Sheriff Josh Boll told the commission he has contracted a registered nurse as an on-call, part-time employee at $38 per hour for when medical problems arise at the facility.
The commission conducted an executive session to discuss legal issues connected to the decision to hire the nurse.
The commission approved the hiring when they resumed the regular meeting.

FEMA funding
Walworth County Highway Superintendent Penny Goetz told the commission that any funding from FEMA that was requested in connection to the May 17 thunderstorm that caused extensive damage in the county was not guaranteed. She said the disaster request sent to the president has yet to be signed and it could take months to receive any funding if they are approved.
Goetz said there have been other situations throughout the country this year that are also under consideration and that may factor in South Dakota’s request for Walworth County.
Goetz also told the commission the estimates for the culvert repair and replacement on two of the culvert issues in the county ranged from $64,000 to $200,000 depending on whether a box culvert would be installed.
She told the commission they needed to take these numbers into consideration before letting bids for those projects. Goetz said she is in the process of bid letting for bridge repairs in the around the Hidden Wood State Park

In other business the Walworth County Commissioners:
• Commissioners discussed the chain of command for the county emergency manager. Former emergency manager Jake Fees submitted his resignation in June and the commission wanted to set parameters for the next person to fill that position.
• Tabled a motion to transfer funds from the courthouse building fund to the general fund to cover the cost of repairs to the courthouse until all of the bills for the project had been submitted.
• Heard the county had been notify that former deputy Kari Beaman would be appealing the decision of the Department of Labor concerning her dismissal.
• Set the budget meeting date and time as Tuesday, July 17, after the regular commission meeting.
• Heard Goetz report that the repairs to County Road 319 would begin on Monday, July 9. She reported there would a change to the plans because of a WEB Water line, the road would not be extended into the Northern Plains property. Goetz said the county’s share of the cost of this project was $106,000. The road from Highway 12 to 304th Avenue would be closed for about a month.
– Katie Zerr –