STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
COUNTY OF HENDERSON JANUARY 19, 1999
The Henderson County Board of Commissioners met for a special called meeting at 3:00 p.m. in the Commissioners= Conference Room of the Henderson County Office Building at 100 North King Street, Hendersonville, North Carolina.
Those present were: Chairman Grady Hawkins, Vice-Chair Bill Moyer, Commissioner Renee Kumor, Commissioner Don Ward, Commissioner Marilyn Gordon, County Manager David E. Nicholson, and Clerk to the Board Elizabeth W. Corn.
Also present were: Sheriff George Erwin, Lem Dermid from the Sheriff=s Department, Dick Adams, Alan Baldwin and Mohsen Ghoreishi from Grier-Fripp Architects, Elizabeth Teague from Land of Sky, Staff Attorney Jennifer O. Jackson, Lori Gonce, Public Information Officer Chris S. Coulson, Finance Director J. Carey McLelland, Bill Byrnes, and an NIC teacher Butch Reynolds.
CALL TO ORDER/WELCOME
Chairman Hawkins called the meeting to order and welcomed those in attendance. The purpose of this meeting was a jail workshop. He explained that the Board of Commissioners and the Jail Planning Committee have been working on various approaches to the construction of a new jail facility in Henderson County. In the last budget cycle, some monies were set aside to work on the personnel additions etc. In October the Board had a work session on jail planning and this is the next meeting.
Chairman Hawkins then turned the meeting over to Sheriff Erwin.
Sheriff Erwin stated that this is a very exciting project for our community and a much needed project which is well overdue. He commended the Commissioners for seeing the need in this community for a new detention facility and showing leadership in moving forward. He stated that he had been with the county about 20 years and this project was talked about 20 years ago.
He updated the Board on the Criminal Justice Program in Henderson County. Law enforcement=s primary function in criminal justice is to prevent crime instead of react to crime.
Sheriff Erwin commended the Jail Project Team, stating that these folks are all taxpayers in the community. They have shown dedication and determination.
The goals and objections for the new detention facility are:
1. A secure facility.
2. An effective facility.
3. An efficient facility.
Sheriff Erwin stated that he sees the new detention center as the catalyst for changing the whole philosophical approach to criminal justice in our community.
Last year the proposal for a completely new jail was for $14.2 million. The Board asked for other options. Bill Blalock and the Committee came up with eight or nine different alternatives. They have all been visited and revisited. The pros and the cons have been studied. What was finally decided on was a $4.5 million facility. It was stressed that the new facility be able to handle our needs 10-15 years down the road.
Sheriff Erwin stated that this project is farther along than it=s ever been. Studies were done in 1988 and it has been on and off the table since then several times.
Sheriff Erwin spoke briefly about the classification system for the new facility. Prisoners will be placed in pods with like prisoners, with like backgrounds, and similar crimes.
He thanked the Board for the eight personnel in the jail, five last year and three committed this year. It is allowing them to be prepared to transition into the new facility.
DETENTION CENTER - Planning Process
Commissioner Kumor reminded the Board that about six or seven people went to Colorado about a year ago to attend a training program sponsored by the National Institute of Corrections. They spent a week there with people from five other states discussing jail problems and getting into the mindset for building a jail. They attended a APONI@ training program (Planning of New Institute).
The Commissioners appointed some folks to a team, a Jail Advisory Board. The Sheriff recruited some folks to work with the team. In addition, Bill Blalock was putting some folks together who had professional skills to help with jail issues.
Commissioner Kumor stated that much information had been gathered and research done and now is the time to answer questions and make decisions.
Questions & Answers
Elizabeth Teague had been asked to come facilitate a question and answer session. She stated that after the architect=s presentation there would be a pause for questions and answers, prior to moving on to the budget. After the budget presentation there would be another pause for additional budget specific questions.
Dick Adams, one of the volunteers who serves as a member of the Jail Project Team, introduced the team members who were in attendance: Lem Dermid, Lori Gonce, Bill Berry, Bill Ferrell, Frank Barnes, Bob Flay, Charlene Livingston, Lee Laidlaw, along with Marge Galloway who was not present. He stated that they are all taxpayers in Henderson County who take a personal interest in the community.
The Jail Project Team has examined the detention center issue over most of a year. Many proposals have been studied and he discussed some of those. The final proposal was for a 200 bed facility which will meet our needs for the next 10-12 years.
Mr. Adams stated that the team served as a liaison between the jail committee and the community and they recommended building a high-tech 208 bed facility of 50,000 plus square feet, a detention facility that will meet our community needs for the next 10-20 years. Construction costs in North Carolina are escalating at about 5% per year so it makes good sense to build that project now. Over a 20 year period it is estimated that 10% of a detention center=s total cost is the construction costs, 90% is the operating costs. The facility they recommended will minimize those operating costs over the next 20 years.
He stated that he has heard a lot of comments from the community, pro and con. He stated that the team plans to continue to present the detention center story to the civic and community groups, church groups, and to anyone who is interested. Their purpose is to relay comments from the community to the project team and to keep the community informed regarding the progress of the project and its purpose of making the community a better place to live and to provide help and guidance to those whose lives can be redirected to their and the community=s benefit. He encouraged the Board=s support of the new detention center.
Alan Baldwin, an architect with Grier Fripp Architects, discussed briefly Henderson County=s needs for a new detention center and the size of that center.
One of the first things they studied was the inmate population trend for the future which would determine the size facility we would need. They also studied the historical data with respect to arrests. Next they studied transportation networks, age of the population, demographics.
He and Mohsen showed an architectural rendering of the proposed project.
The proposed project will now cost approx. $8.1 million. Alan expressed again that 8% - 10% of the cost of the new facility will be capital expense and 90% will be operating costs. These figures are for our proposed 208 bed facility.
He discussed briefly bed space and classification. The facility consists of 265 square feet per bed. It should be a very efficient facility meeting all the State requirements. One of the main objectives he discussed was security. The design of the facility will make for minimum staffing requirements. The design will also minimize maintenance and operation costs and is expandable. He spoke briefly about the State standards and the ACA standards, ACA standards being more strict. We would meet the North Carolina standards with the proposed facility.
Chairman Hawkins called a 10 minute recess.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Elizabeth Teague was stationed at the easel to write down any questions the Board had. Chairman Hawkins stated that some of these questions might be answered today while others may require some research to answer them.
Elizabeth Teague asked the Board to limit their questions at this time to the planning process, community involvement, and the project design:
1. Space needs regarding exercise area per prisoner?
2. Operational costs?
3. Construction costs?
4. Breakdown of total costs per square foot?
5. What is the Mission Statement of this Facility?
6. Differences in State standards and ACA standards.
7. Cost analysis on four bed cells vs. two bed cells and dormitory cells?
8. Food services and laundry contracting?
9. Reasoning behind the four holding single cells?
10. Staffing? It was answered that there would be five officers on each of four squads, working 12 hour shifts.
Chairman Hawkins asked the question about the Mission Statement. He said that we=re talking about being able to house federal prisoners and some number of female prisoners. He asked what the advantage would be for us to be able to house federal prisoners?
It was explained regarding federal prisoners that 50 plus federal prisoners are available to Henderson County and they could provide revenue to the Henderson County Jail. Federal inmates are treated the same as state inmates. Henderson County could contract for each federal inmate. We would supply their room and board, any medical expenses, etc. would be paid for with federal dollars.
There was some discussion regarding central booking and the amount of time an officer spends doing paperwork now. Sheriff Erwin stated that many of our prisoners are transients.
Charlene Livingston stated that the Magistrates are currently letting approximately 50% of people go who should be in jail, because we don=t have room to house them.
There was discussion about the central booking area and the needed holding cells in that area as well as discussion of direct supervision vs. indirect supervision.
Commissioner Moyer asked for an explanation of why our square foot price is running considerably higher per footage than some other law enforcement centers. It was explained that one of the factors is that we have fewer square feet per inmate so the total project cost or cost per bed is a very good value. It has been compacted and just the essential hard areas are included. There is not a lot of space for instance for staff training, office space, etc. and these are the lower costs per square foot areas.
David Nicholson received some financial information yesterday afternoon based on both a standard dollar amount and a standard rate amount. The Clerk did not get a copy of David=s hand out of budget information.
Mr. Nicholson explained that during the budget process last year the Board set aside 2 cents on the tax rate which brought in $1,026,000. That=s our financial base to start off with. Out of that money the Board approved the staffing which amounted to $132,000. The project team has had almost $68,000 worth of operating expenses or will have by the end of this fiscal year. A balance remains of $825,118 which will be transferred to a Capital Projects Fund. He then reviewed the figures he received yesterday:
Construction costs = $7,365,000
He explained that together these figures equal a set aside of a little over $8.1 million. Also in the project are the architect fees and the FF&E (furniture, fixtures, and equipment) fees.
He reminded the Board that there is a large mound of dirt behind the site that must be disposed of but he hopes that will not cost us anything. There is also a problem of having to do some special footings because of the dirt on the side so some contingency had to be put in the project for some site work, roughly 2 million dollars. The total project now equals $9.7 million.
Mr. Nicholson reminded the Board that we currently have $825,000 in hand toward the project so we would have to finance right at $8.9 million.
He reviewed the debt service options with the Board from his hand out. The first option is based on constant dollars and with borrowing for 16 years we would be at a break even standpoint. The total cost to do that would be $13.1 million. If we borrowed for ten years we would be short $328,000 with a ten year payback of $11.5 million and for eight years we would be short $553,000 with a eight year payback of just over $11 million. The thing that changes the rate is the school projects. Two cents would bring in $1.2 million. With a set aside of two cents taxes, at 11.5 years we would
break even. The payback would be $11.9 million. At ten years it would be just short of $120,000
with a payback of $11.5 million. For eight years it would be $344,000 with a payback of $11 million.
Chairman Hawkins stated that the Board had received a lot of information to study and digest. The Commissioners have a meeting scheduled for tomorrow and he plans to add this item to the agenda under AImportant Dates@ to look for an additional workshop. He asked Elizabeth Teague to consolidate the questions that have been asked.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Chairman Hawkins decided to forego this part of the meeting due to the fact that the meeting had already gone over the allotted time.
The meeting had been scheduled to go until 5:00 p.m. At 5:20 p.m., Chairman Hawkins suggested that the Board consider setting another jail workshop at tomorrow=s regular meeting under AImportant Dates@.
There being no further business to come before the Board at this time, Chairman Hawkins adjourned the meeting at approx. 5:22 p.m.
Elizabeth W. Corn, Clerk to the Board
Grady Hawkins, Chairman