On Sept. 18 the Madison County Board voted 15-13 to table a motion to let $18 million of bonds to renovate the Madison County Jail. Board members questioned the proposed funding of the project. In the aftermath of this surprising vote, a number of questions might come to mind. First, how did the jail become so rundown? Was adequate preventative maintenance in place? If not, is this a case of maladministration?
Second, why isn't the available surplus in county money, which is by County Board Chairman's Alan Dunstan's count approximately $22 million, used to defray some or all of the cost?
Third, if bonds are let, has a specific company already been selected by the Madison County administration? If so has the selected company made contributions to current office holders campaigns? Will bond companies have to bid to be able to let the bonds? Will government discounts be given by those providing the service?
Fourth, is Dunstan's and the Finance Committee's desire to let bonds part of a larger plan to renovate the courthouse and to put a roof on the County Administration Building by using the Madison County surplus? If so, what needs to be done to the courthouse?
Finally if the jail is renovated in stages, will sealed bid contracts be used? One wonders if given the confusion evident at the recent board meeting if these questions will be answered.
Philip W. Chapman