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Thurston County Board of Supervisors Postpones Jail Issue

The jail is unsafe and over 100 years old, but it's not getting replaced, at least for now.

Pender, NE (ABC9 News)- Jail isn't supposed to be great, but Thurston County's Jail is a century old and only being allowed to stay open because of a grandfather clause under older rules.

The standards in the jail are low, with fans running to circulate air and exposed wiring and piping,  but security for officers and inmates is even lower.

Despite the issues, on Monday the board of supervisors decided they aren't ready to vote on building a proposed 48 bed jail that would cost more than $7 million.

"It was a lot of things thrown at us at the Monday meeting that we weren't prepared for but I do think we have the numbers that may support it but I don't know it there's enough answers out there right now that all the board members could come up to a mutual agreement," supervisor Mark English said.

With many unanswered questions regarding jail size and need, for some taxpayers and board members, the issue all came down to dollars and cents.

"I don't care if you put it to the ballot to raise taxes $10 or $10,000 per individual, just the idea of increasing taxes is never a good thing," English added.
 
"At the meeting last Monday, I've had two or three people come to me since and say 'if you get those numbers down, I think this will work really well,'" said Leonard Peters the jail committee chairman.

So now it's back to the drawing board. An architect will look at scaling back the project and revising the plan. It means a lot more hard work for those who have been trying to tackle this issue for years.

"I don't give up, if I believe in it, boy, we took a bad turn here last Monday, but we're going to back up, take a look at our mistakes and go forward from there. Talking about a jail is like talking about garbage. Everybody knows we've got it but nobody wants to talk about it," Peters added.

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