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Commissioners identify project priorities

Remodeling the courts building and upgrading the kitchen at the county jail were identified Wednesday as the highest priorities by county commissioners.
During a work session following their executive committee meeting, commissioners reviewed five projects that have been on the drawing board for years but are currently in a holding pattern.
After an hour of discussion, commissioners agreed the courthouse and jail kitchen projects were the most important. The other matters were 9-1-1 Central Dispatch communications system, a new animal control facility and expansion of the Three Rivers Commission On Aging senior center.
County administrator Pat Yoder was instructed to research details related to the proposed courthouse and jail kitchen tasks with the intent that commissioners will begin moving forward with addressing the issues.
Commissioners a few years ago fielded but did not act on a $14 million quote to expand the current courts building. A remodel is projected to cost at least $4 million and would potentially address a few pressing concerns, including moving employees out of the basement and improving the holding area where jail inmates are held in advance of a court appearance.
Meanwhile, the need for remodeling the jail kitchen stems in part from a $14 million estimate to develop a new jail building. Commission chair Alllen Balog said the cost to remodel the kitchen would not address all the needs at the jail, but would nonetheless be a prudent course of action.
Sheriff Brad Balk told Balog COA Meal production is at full capacity, with about 550 meals prepared on-site daily.

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