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Clay County Bid For New Jail Came In $11 Million Over Budget

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Clay County Bid For New Jail Came In $11 Million Over Budget

Clay County back to the drawing board after bad news from a lone bidder on the jail project.

Three contractors came out to assess building the jail but only one put in a bid. The bid came in at $11 million dollars over the county’s budgeted $7.5 million. County Mayor Dale Reagan called it unpleasant.

“Man when it come back like that, I thought ‘oh my goodness there is no way we can handle that,’ because you’re looking at a payment around a million dollars a year just on a payment,” Reagan said. “Right now we just can’t, that’s not a workable number, I’ll put it that way.”

A USDA loan would fund the project. The county took out that loan in 2019. Meeting requirements for the project slowed the bidding process. Reagan said the project is still moving forward and they will be meeting with architects and engineers to see the next step.

“We’re not going to quit,” Reagan said. “We are going to continue to go forward. Now, we may have to change and take a little bit different direction and everything, but we’re going to continue to strive to go forward with this thing, but the bid didn’t come in like we’d love for it to.”

Reagan said he expected the jail bid to come in $2 or $3 million over budget, but he did not expect the cost to jump from $325 per square foot to $800 per square foot.

“Shaving off 11 million off a project is going to be hard to do, but we’re not going to give up. We’re going to continue to go forward and everything,” Reagan said.

Reagan said putting the project out for another bid is not off the table, but the commissioners would have to vote to approve. Reagan said he has been working on getting this done since he was elected in 2018.


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