During the Page County Board of Supervisors meeting on Feb. 9, representatives with the Samuels Group, a project manager candidate for the Page County Jail project, discussed how the company could help the county.
The company offers various services, but representatives said they would start with an assessment of the Page County Jail. The company’s future services could include project construction management and a communication plan. When looking at new facilities, the Samuels Group considers the future’s needs and not just current conditions.
“At the completion of this work, we’re going to provide you with a study,” Samuels Group Owner Sid Samuels said. “We’re going to provide you with the solutions, so we’ve done a pretty deep dive into what your needs are. We’ve come up with a solution in regards to what we feel that would work for today and into the next 20 years, is the goal is to provide adequate space for that or a master plan.”
Samuels said the company has a good track record and their goal is to do it once and do it right.
Samuels said the county had a “strong and compelling” argument for needing a new jail. He noted that the current facility does not meet the Iowa Department of Corrections’ standards.
“You, as a county, are being faced with all kinds of people, with all kinds of dynamics that come into your county every single day,” said Samuels, “and you’re asking the sheriff and the staff to keep them separated, keep them protected, keep the employees protected and do a really good job at it. And, your facility right now is not in the position to do that.”
Page County Sheriff Lyle Palmer said his main objective is to have a safe and functional facility.
“First of all, I think we need to have a needs assessment of what is there,” said Palmer. “Just for the simple fact that if I was looking at spending $50,000 out of my own pocket for something, I would want to know what I’m getting. I’d want to make sure that it’s ready for the future with the plans that we have. If we need a new jail, why do we need a new jail. I think that’s important for the taxpayers. Once we get down the road where we’re looking at what we’re going to do, that’s something else.”
Supervisor Chair Chuck Morris believes over all the community supports the need of a new county jail.
“This is a marathon, not a sprint,” said Morris. “That’s important to keep in mind that whatever we do, we want to do it right, we want to do it well, we want to do it as economically as we can. Unfortunately, any way you cut it, this project is going to cost taxpayers a lot of money.”
Phase 1, which includes a basic needs assessment and strategy for the future project, could cost the county $15,000. The next phase would consist of architectural development and schematic design and could cost the county $25,000.
In the budget for this year, Morris said the county had set aside a little over $39,000 from Local Option Sales tax dollars.