DAVIDSON COUNTY — A proposed five-year capital improvement plan was discussed at a recent budget workshop hosted by the Davidson County Board of Commissioners.
In that plan, the looming detention center project is pencilled in as a replacement to the old, 1950s jail facility which currently houses inmates. The new detention facility scheduled to come online in 2022 is expected to account for $5.19 million of the $6.53 million of the capital improvement plan’s allowance for the upcoming year. That expected contribution in 2023 is set to balloon to $48 million.
County Manager Casey Smith offered his input on the project, offering commissioners a presentation on the projected undertaking.
“That’s the debt to build the building,” Smith said.
The new detention facility would be constructed on the site of the existing post office on Center Street. In providing “critically necessary” detention services, the new jail would produce an increase of 279 beds, even after closing the old jail.
In total, the jail would hold 576 beds and would allow the county to meet present and long-term detention needs, with possible expansion to bring the total to 650 beds beyond 20 years.
Operating impacts on the expenditures for the project would include 48 new positions, as well as laundry, medical and food services.
Debt financing is responsible for 56% of the total plan. Capital reserve accounts for 25% of the total, while enterprise funds create 10% of the budget and other sources round out the remaining 9%.
Also during the meeting, Smith and commissioners discussed the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the county’s finances and their budget plans for the time being. According to documents provided by county staff, projected base sales tax in the 2020-2021 fiscal year will have decreased by $8.9 million. This was attributed to the impact from the pandemic.
Among the assumptions for the upcoming budget, an additional $1.28 million was included in the budget for the cost-of-living adjustment planned for the year. The full-year cost of Year 2 of the county’s pay study came to $661,000.
A total of $968,000 was added back to the budget for school major capital, including high-priority roofs and HVAC units, as well as adding back sheriff and EMS “high mileage” vehicle replacements. Jail contracts account for $200,000 of the budget, which involves laundry, medical and food services.
Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.