New Ohio Co. jail estimate doubled anticipated cost - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

New Ohio Co. jail estimate doubled anticipated cost

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HARTFORD, KY (WFIE) -

Results are back on a study to determine whether a new jail is needed in Ohio County and if there's enough money to pay for it, but officials say funding isn't the only challenge they're facing.

The current detention center was built in 1941.

“So, it's quite ancient and it's a life-safety jail,” Judge Executive David Johnston said.

The current Ohio County jail has certainly seen better days.

Judge Johnston tells 14 News before any plans could begin, the feasibility study had to be conducted.  He says those results did show a need for a new jail.

Overcrowding is among the top complaints. Judge Johnston says the jail is supposed to have 55 inmates. But, now they're in charge of 70 per day on average.

“Many times, we have to pay other counties to keep our inmates and that's very expensive and the transportation cost is very expensive,” Judge Johnston added.

But, a building a new jail is also expensive.

County leaders were expecting a new jail to cost between $4-6 million. The reality is, it would come in at more like $12-18 million dollars.

They’re finding the funding is the biggest challenge.

“Which probably makes it beyond our ability to do so we're asking for more facts and things to see if there's a way of doing it for less money,” Judge Johnston explained.

County leaders are looking into grants but say that money is limited.

In the meantime, they're in limbo looking ahead to the future. However, if the county moves forward with a new jail, Judge Johnston says it will be in Hartford in a separate location.

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