Press-Republican

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August 19, 2013

Franklin County officials: Jail space needed in 3 to 5 years

MALONE — Franklin County may need new jail space to handle the increase in female inmates and to reduce costly maintenance as the 20-year-old existing building ages.

Darrin Rubadeau, County Buildings and Grounds superintendent, also told legislators he needs another person to help catch up on the repairs and preventive maintenance needed at the Bare Hill Road facility.

His department lost a position in 2011 when the county laid off 11 staff, and the loss is being felt as repairs pile up at the jail, he said.

Rubadeau said his staff also takes care of the Public Safety Building next door and that he doesn’t have enough staff to easily perform routine tasks at each site, such as mowing and trash collection, or to do the inspections and equipment repairs that often crop up.

“In 1993, when it was built, there were 40 inmates, and it was a new building, so there wasn’t a lot of maintenance needed,” he said. 

“Now, it’s 20 years old, and there are about 120 inmates, so the work’s tripled. Things are going down. Preventive maintenance needs to be done.”

NURSING-HOME MERGER

Rubadeau said he could find enough money in his existing budget to pay for an extra person until the end of the year, but he urged legislators to restore the position he lost.

County Manager Thomas Leitz said it makes sense to put the job back because savings will be realized next year when fewer maintenance workers will be needed at the County Nursing Home — a planned merger of that facility with Alice Hyde Medical Center’s nursing home is set for 2014.

Rubadeau there are three full-time maintenance people at the Nursing Home and 14 cleaners, but post-merger, he may only need one maintenance person and one or two cleaners.

The cost for a maintenance worker assigned to tasks at the jail is reimbursed at 80 percent from the Sheriff’s Department budget, he said.

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