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Archived Story

Jail vote about construction not necessary

Published 12:07am Thursday, December 5, 2013

Adams County Supervisors have a great chance to lead the community soon, rather than pass the buck.

Supervisors again this week discussed the request of Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield to build a new jail complex.

Mayfield says the maintenance costs on the existing jail are too high and that the jail isn’t up to current standards.

The county’s maintenance man said recently the cost of maintaining the jail isn’t terribly expensive, certainly far less than the note on a new facility.

For what it’s worth, most of Natchez’s buildings are not up to current standards — particularly some of the building codes and regulations dealing with handicap accessibility.

The jail is, well, a jail. It’s supposed to be an unpleasant place to stay.

Perhaps we need a new one, but the arguments over maintenance costs have fallen a bit short with us.

But county supervisors — at least some of them — seem incapable of just telling the sheriff, “No.”

So now supervisors are considering putting the matter on a ballot soon, effectively asking taxpayers to check the box saying, “Build a new jail, and we’ll take the tax increase” or the box that says, “No new taxes, no new jail.”

While it might seem smart to suggest such things, elections cost money, and with no guarantee that supervisors will do what citizens support anyway, why on earth would we put it back on a ballot?

A couple of years ago, Adams County voters overwhelmingly supported a recreation complex, and virtually no official action has been done on that.

Should prisoners even have a chance of having a brand new facility when our children play in outdated recreation facilities?

We think not.