Officials: Florala city jail ‘doable’

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The re-opening of the Florala city jail is a “doable” project at this point, city officials agree.

At Monday’s council meeting, preliminary figures and statistics on renovating and operating the facility were presented.

In December, Police Chief Sonny Bedsole asked that the city jail be opened after multiple FPD arrests were refused entry into the county jail.

“When the jail won’t accept them, that’s a whole lot of babysitting,” Bedsole said then of the inmates.

Mayor Robert Williamson said Tuesday that preliminary figures show that materials for the facility renovation are estimated at $28,000.

“But that doesn’t include architect’s drawings or labor on the project,” he said. “My opinion of the project is that it’s still out there – it’s doable based on what we know now.”

Williamson said the city would not be required to provide its own dispatching service if the jail is re-opened.

“Plus, we found out that our liability insurance would only go up $100 a month,” he said. “It’s doable at this stage. Now, we don’t have all the figures needed to make a decision, but there’s nothing been shown that would make us slam the door on the project.”

Now, Bedsole has been tasked to provide operational costs using inmate figures from 2013.

“What we want to know is how much would that jail cost if we had it in 2013,” Williamson said. “After we get that, we’ll have a better picture. We could have an answer by next month.”

Currently, the city has two officers on shift at night. Bedsole said it takes approximately one hour and 15 minutes for an FPD officer to get a person arrested in Florala booked into the county jail in Andalusia. Additionally, the city pays $31.50 for housing and meals per inmate.

Bedsole believes that by reopening the city jail, it would save “time and resources.”