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Bi-county jail idea appears to be dead

The idea of Logan and Franklin counties building a bi-county jail appears to be dead, according to Logan County Judge Gus Young and Quorum Court member Mike Schluterman.

The idea was first mentioned earlier this year and officials of both counties had held meetings to discuss the idea. Based on previous discussions, the jail would be build somewhere in the Ratcliff and Caulksville areas near the border of both counties and run by a jail commission composed of representatives from both counties. Building a bi-county jail was considered a cheaper alternative than both counties building and operating a jail on their own.

It was also proposed that the jail construction and operation would be funded by a sales tax passed in both counties.

However, Young said he was asked to call Franklin County officials about a committee meeting set for Aug. 7 and he was told don’t bother.

“They called me back and said there was no need because there was not enough support to make it work,” Young said last week. Young said that word came from former Franklin County Judge Joe Powell, who was a member of the committee.

The feelings expressed by Powell are a change from an April meeting of the Franklin County Quorum Court. At that meeting, Franklin County JPs voted 6-3 to keep talking about the idea with Logan County.

Schluterman and Young were disappointed at the news.

“I’ve gotten no negative feedback, especially when you consider the savings,” Schluterman said. “Right now, we were just gathering information. I don’t know how you can make a decision without all the facts.”

“I thought it was a good idea to explore,” Young said. “I thought it would have saved both counties money. But, I respect their decision. If they didn’t think it was a good idea, then that’s their decision.”

Young said the Logan County jail committee will go ahead and meet on Aug. 7.

“Right now, we’re going to have to begin discussions about building our own jail,” he said. “How big? How to finance it? Where to build it? We need to make a decision on those issues.”

Logan County needs to either build a new jail or expand its present jail located in Paris. The Logan County Detention Center is presently on probation for a number of issues related to jail overcrowding.

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