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Coffee County approves $22M bond issuance for new jail

Posted on Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 8:18 am

The Coffee County Commission passed two resolutions on Tuesday authorizing the issuance of $22 million for construction of the new 400-bed jail.

According to Budget and Finance Committee chairman Rush Bricken, the initial Bond Anticipation Notes, not to exceed $20 million, will be issued as a short-term “bridge” loan for the construction period, but will be refinanced later by long-term General Obligation Bonds not to exceed $22 million.

According to Sheriff Steven Graves, no ground will be broken for at least another month or so.

“There’s still a lot of paperwork that has to be done before the U.S.D.A. will approve the loan,” Graves said, “so we’re hoping for the first of December, but we’re probably still a month away from starting any construction.”

Graves added that even if the project starts in January, not much work would get done before spring anyway.

“The delays will end up adding several months to the construction time,” he said, “but if it saves the county $2 million (in interest cost), I guess it’s worth it.”

Graves said the current jail is holding around 274 prisoners although it is only certified for 196.