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November 7, 2013

Clark County Commissioners eye jail bond issuance

Also: HR decision likely coming soon

JEFFERSONVILLE — The Clark County Commissioners approved a resolution Thursday establishing the language for an amendment to the Clark County Jail Holding Corp.’s lease, which will be approved at a future meeting.

The commissioners were once paying about $880,000 twice per year for the Michael L. Becher Adult Correctional Complex, servicing a 10-year, $14 million bond that was sold in 2007. The county’s jail holding corporation refinanced the bond earlier this year, reducing the total paid annually by about $84,000. A new $1.2 million, 20-year bond will capture that savings so it can be spent now, said Jail Holding Corporation President Brian Lenfert.

“Over the last several years, the county has had to pay out of pocket local funds for improvements for the jail, not the jail holding corporation,” Lenfert said, “so part of this $1.2 million is to reimburse the county for previous capital expenditures in the jail.”

Replacing the jail’s boilers is just the most recent in a list of capital expenditures that have come out of the county’s coffers. The deal will allow both the jail and the county to afford some needed capital improvements, said County Attorney Jake Elder.

“With the financial situation, where the county is at, it’s going to be beneficial for both the county and the jail to be able to do any upgrades that they need to do without raising taxes or rates or anything like that,” Elder said. “It’s just an opportunity to take advantage of the refunding.”

HR DECISION SOON

The commissioners need to act soon to address a human resources void, and are leaning toward contracting with a firm to do so, said Commissioners President Jack Coffman.

A committee consisting of Coffman, Commissioner John Perkins and County Council President Barbara Hollis has interviewed multiple individual candidates and two firms, Coffman said, and has one formal proposal from an HR firm in hand.

“We really need to do something soon,” Coffman said.

Coffman asked his fellow commissioners to think about the problem, and wants to address the issue at their next meeting Nov. 21.

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