Jury to hold hearing on jail expansion

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 9, 2000

VIDALIA, La. — A public hearing on a planned $6 million expansion to the Concordia Parish Correctional Facility will be held during the Concordia Parish Police Jury’s Monday meeting.

The Police Jury holds a public hearing on any multi-family housing complex or other large-scale development before granting a building permit, said jury President Charlie Blaney.

&uot;This gives people in the parish a chance to voice their opinions on it,&uot;&160;Blaney said. &uot;This is a big deal that will affect many citizens of this parish.&uot;

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Blaney said most constituents he has talked to are in favor of the prison expansion because it will create more jobs.

Later in the meeting, the jury will also discuss whether or not to exempt the expansion from parish taxes. The jury has not yet figured out how much the facility would pay in taxes to the parish, Blaney said.

The expansion will create 50 to 60 jobs and have a $250,000 a year economic impact, the same as the existing prison, said Sheriff Randy Maxwell.

&uot;Some people don’t like the idea of bringing more prisoners into the parish,&uot; Blaney said. &uot;Sheriff Maxwell has a good track record of keeping the lid on things over there (at the existing prison).&uot;

Jury Vice President Melvin Ferrington has also said he does not see a problem with granting a building permit for the expansion.

The expansion, which was announced March 22 and is set to be finished by Jan. 22, 2001, will house about 380 prisoners, the number the existing facility holds.

Prison construction firm B.A.S. Construction of Rayville is building the expansion at their own cost and will own the building and the land on which it sits, but the Sheriff’s Office will operate it.

The expansion, like the current facility, would house state prisoners, and the state pays the parish $23 a day per prisoner for their care.

If the expansion runs efficiently enough to care for prisoners with less money, B.A.S. will get any money left over. If there is no money left over, B.A.S. gets nothing.