Jail project consultants Andrew Lanam, from left, Jeff Peters and Rick Hall listen as Dan Zuerner, another consultant who is serving as the construction manager, talks at Thursday’s commissioners’ meeting.–Staff Photo by Bryce Mayer
The Jennings County Board of Commissioners made it official on Thursday.
No action will be made on the proposed new county jail until after four new members of the Jennings County Council take office in January.
Whether or not a majority on the council decides to veto the jail project, which it could do by rescinding the special-use jail tax, remains an open question. The four newly-elected members of the council have told The Sun they want to study the matter closer.
"We are at the point that if we took one more step forward (on the jail), it would cost millions," said Matt Sporleder (R-District 3), president of the commissioners. "The new county council might choose to change things. We three commissioners don't want to roll the dice and take that chance."
Sporleder was referring to the new income tax the council adopted last month that will fund the jail project, where estimates range as high as $28 million.
Four new councilors on the seven-member council were elected last month - Mandy Creech (R-District 2), Bob Ellis (R-District 3), Michael Gerth (R-District 1) and Charlie Weber (R-District 4). Two who voted for the jail tax, Democrats Tony Eder (District 4) and Larry Maschino (District 2), were defeated. Another who voted for the tax, Republican Mike Kelley (District 1), did not run for re-election.
County Councilor-elect Mandy Creech is flanked by Republican chair Jeanie Hahn and Kelly Pruitt, Creech's campaign manager, as they celebrate Tuesday. Creech is the first woman ever elected to the council.-Staff Photo by Bryce Mayer