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Sheriff: Inmates to be sent to Wash. Co.

The Harrison County Sheriff’s Dept. has agreed to send 30 or so of its inmates to the Washington County Jail in Salem to help with overcrowding issues, Sheriff Rodney (Rod) Seelye reported to the Harrison County Council Monday night.
The plan will cost approximately $459,000 per year for Harrison County, a figure much less than the previously proposed jail expansion plan.
The jail and Justice Center expansion plan would have required $750,000 in additional corrections officer (12 officers) funding above the $15 million initial facility expansion cost.
Seelye said it fixes the overcrowding problem and ‘buys’ the county 10 to 12 years before something else may need to be done.
‘I don’t think this is kicking the can down the road,’ Seelye said. ‘They’re making a commitment to us. I believe if we foster a good relationship, they’ll be able to grow with us.’
The Harrison County Jail currently is overcrowded, with 173 inmates, seven of whom are housed in the Crawford County Jail.
The jail was deemed overcrowded in June 2016 by the state jail inspector, who said the facility exceeded the rated capacity on the day of inspection by six inmates.
In September of last year, Seelye said, 56 female inmates were in the jail, exactly doubling the alloted bed space for female inmates.
Eleven females were transferred to Crawford County at a cost of $35 each per day to lessen the overcrowding.
Washington County has a capacity of 240 inmates and currently only houses 100.
It will cost $42 per day per inmate at Washington County.
The inmates will still be under the jurisdiction and responsibility of Harrison County.
‘Washington County is going to make some money on this deal, and we’re going to save a bunch of money on the deal,’ Seelye said. ‘So, this is county government doing what it’s supposed to be doing.’
He said they’ll begin to move inmates to Salem in August.
In other business, the board heard a request of $670,000 for a boat ramp at Morvin’s Landing east of Mauckport. Another additional appropriation of $540,000 coincides with the ramp project to improve the roadway coming off of and connecting to S.R 111.
Council Chair Gary Davis said he wasn’t ready to approve the $670,000 because the $540,000 is not in the highway budget this year.
‘I’m doubtful the money is in the budget next year for this project,’ he said.
Councilwoman Holli Castetter asked if it was possible to fund the ramp ($670,000), and not the road work ($540,000).
John LaTurner, an engineer with DLZ, said he wouldn’t consider it impossible, but the road is quite narrow for boat trailers and the intersection with S.R. 111 has line-of-sight issues.
‘I’m not saying it couldn’t be done, but it would be in a very crash-ready condition,’ LaTurner said.
Councilman Kyle Nix had concerns about the lack of permitting (a wetlands study will be conducted once money is approved) and the cost for the need for possible remediation.
The concerns continued from Councilman Gary Byrne.
‘I just have a problem spending this kind of money when we’re already spending the riverboat in the negative every year,’ Byrne said. ‘I’ve got problems spending this kind of money now. And $540,00 for a road to a boat ramp, I’d rather see the $540,000 go on down the road … I know I’m just one vote, but we need to think hard before we want to commit that because we’re already spending negative money out of riverboat.’
The boat ramp request includes a ‘relatively simple’ boat ramp and a ‘nice’ parking lot. It would not include a floating boat dock at this point.
The request includes $10,000 to increase electricity availability, which will allow for a proposed high-definition camera on the area which would be operated by the sheriff’s department.
Larry Shickles, president of the Harrison County Parks Dept. board, which is proposing the project, said the prosecutor’s office and sheriff’s department have a plan to provide the cameras to the parks department for multiple sites throughout county parks, as well as a number of high-traffic intersections in the county.
The council plans to vote on the boat ramp appropriation at its next meeting, which will be Monday, July 24, at 7 p.m., at the Government Center in south Corydon.