Supervisors hear request for ACSO move

Published 12:10 am Tuesday, October 7, 2014

NATCHEZ Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield’s continuous requests to move and combine several of his offices resurfaced Monday, but produced no action by county leaders.

Mayfield appeared before the Adams County Board of Supervisors Monday morning during the board’s monthly meeting to ask for an update on the possible move of his administrative team to a different location.

Mayfield has previously asked the board to consider finding a location in which all ACSO offices — including those of Natchez-Adams County Metro Narcotics — can be centrally located.

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Mayfield has said, and restated the claims Monday, that the move would help deputies and investigators to better work cases by being in the same building and that the conditions of the current Metro building are unsafe for employees. Metro is currently housed near John A. Quitman Boulevard and Melrose Avenue at the former Department of Human Services building, which the county owns and is in the process of repairing.

“We’ve got some horrible conditions these people are working in, and it’s been going on for months and months,” Mayfield said. “Something has got to be done.”

The board has gone back and forth with the sheriff on two possible locations — the former Callon building at the corner of Franklin and Wall streets and a second downtown building owned by James Biglane.

The county had come to an agreement with those managing the Callon building for the county to pay $5,000 a month, including utilities.

Supervisor David Carter said the board understood the sheriff’s position and reasoning for wanting to move, but also said he didn’t believe the funds were available.

“I don’t think we’re opposed to it; it’s just finding the money to do it,” Carter said. “Right now, there’s not enough money to do much, and that’s really our No. 1 factor.

“It doesn’t seem like much, but it ends up being a lot over time.”

Adams County Administrator Joe Murray said the county was already paying for repairs to the DHS building, as well as repairs to the offices of Chancery Clerk Tommy O’Beirne.

Supervisor Mike Lazarus suggested the sheriff should analyze his budget to determine if any costs could be cut to counter the expense of the rent cost at a new building.

A member of Mayfield’s staff —Chief of Staff Debbie Gee — who was in the boardroom laughed at Lazarus’ suggestion.

Board President Darryl Grennell asked Mayfield if all the departments could be housed at the current Metro building once the renovations are complete.

Mayfield said the building was barely big enough to house the members of the Metro narcotics task force.

After several moments of silence from board members, Mayfield asked about the possibility of a building on the former International Paper site that the county owns.

Mayfield said he and county leaders had looked at the building as a possibility some time ago.

“It would not be ideal because it would take everybody out of town,” Mayfield said. “It would be nice to have the buildings we looked at downtown.”

Carter said the land was currently being marketed to potential prospects and no guarantee would be in place if the land were sold.

Carter also mentioned the costs of repairing that building, which also has a leaking roof, as well as the cost to run phone and Internet lines there could be high.

Grennell said the board could review those costs and get back with the sheriff, but that no decision would be made Monday.

“We need to look at the numbers,” Grennell said. “All we can do is look at it and see.”