Dubois County officials discuss future jail plans

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DUBOIS COUNTY, Ind. (WEHT) — The Dubois County Council and the Dubois County Commissioners held a rare joint meeting to hear proposal costs for a project to re-vamp the jail.

The proposal costs continue adding up in the meeting room, finally capping out at just over $31 million. The total cost would expand the jail and security facility and provide more beds and an updated air system to provide cleaner air for inmates. Within the budget, roughly $9 million was allotted for a plan to move courthouse proceedings away from downtown closer to the jail, a move that has mixed support.

“It is the security issue, it is the security for the public and for our inmate. When they go into the courthouse now, we walk them all in and they walk right through the middle of the public. It is an old Courthouse, it is a beautiful courthouse but it’s also not very easy to secure,” said Dubois County Sheriff Kleinhelter.

“The same elevator a group of criminals may use is the same elevator you may use to go up and talk to the assessor and the evaluation they put for your property taxes,” said County Commissioners President Chad Blessinger.

It’s not just the future of the courthouse that’s up for debate. It’s the livelihood of the business owners located around the square who say they’re worried that if the courthouse moves away, so will their potential customers.

“Any time government spends that kind of money, it comes from the pockets of people that have earned it. The government doesn’t create money, it comes from the taxpayers, so we take that very seriously and so does the county council,” said County Commissioners President Chad Blessinger.

No decision has yet been made. Commissioners say members of both boards will continue to discuss the finances.

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(This story was originally published on August 3, 2020)

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