Bartholomew County moving ahead with jail security upgrade

Bartholomew County officials are going forward with plans to upgrade the security system in the county jail, at a cost of just over $1 million dollars.

The cost would all come out of income tax revenue with half coming from the County Commissioners-controlled economic development income taxes and half from unallocated newly instituted income taxes controlled by the County Council. Those new income taxes are accumulating in the county’s general fund.

Scott Mayes, the county IT director, said that the original winning bid came in at about $1.4 million dollars but by taking various options, the county whittled the cost down to just over $1 million. He also asked the County Council and Commissioners this week to include an additional 10 percent contingency fund, in case the project required any additional unexpected expenditures or ran into problems in the jail.

Councilman Jorge Morales expressed some frustration at the purchase of such technological equipment, as he says it seems to go obsolete practically as soon as it is installed.

The security system expansion would allow the jail to begin surveilling parts of the old jail building, whose cells have not been used for prisoners since the new section opened. The sheriff would like to expand the use of that section to ease overcrowding.

The installation of the new surveillance equipment is expected to take about 8 months.