Guy Ellis

In a meeting Tuesday night, at the Grove Community Center, the Grove City Council voted unanimously to endorse a “no” vote on the upcoming Delaware County Detention Center sales tax bond referendum.

Before voting on the resolution the council heard from County Commissioner Ken Crowder. Crowder gave details of the proposed new county jail showing a potential floor plan of the building to the council.

The plans showed a 30,000 square foot facility that would be capable of housing up to 228 inmates.

The funding for the new detention center would be derived from an upcoming sales tax vote, scheduled for Tuesday, August 26th. The sales tax bond, if passed, would add a one half of one-cent sales tax to Delaware County purchases for twenty years. Those monies would be used to finance the building of the jail while a permanent .35 of a cent sales tax would then fund maintenance and operation of the facility.

Crowder fielded questions from the council concerning the center and the funding to construct it.

After the question and answer session the council voted to endorse a resolution, #08-019, that encourages the County Commissioners to take further action and study into how the jail would be funded and urging the citizens of Grove to vote “no” on the sales tax issue.

As spelled out in the resolution the council resolved to:

•    “Urge the Delaware County Public Facilities Authority and the Delaware County Commissioners take additional action to further study this proposed sales tax increase and its ramifications.

•    Urge the citizens of Grove not to vote for Delaware County proposed sales tax increase by one-half of one percent with three-fifths remaining in perpetuity.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health brought a lawsuit earlier this year against the current county detention center for being in violation of overcrowding laws. The next court date for that procedure is scheduled for September 22nd in Oklahoma City.

Fines for the violations at the current jail could be assessed at $10,000 a day, however the council cited that no county had ever been fined to that degree for overcrowding violations. The research performed by the council indicated to them that so long as the county was working toward a solution to the overcrowding problem that the court would then “work” with the parties involved and not assess fines against the county.

The State Department of Health notified the jail of its violations in a report dated September 12, 2006.

In short, the council agreed that the current situation as regards to the county detention center must be addressed but a sales tax might not necessarily be the best way to solve the problem.

There will be a public forum Friday night at the Grove Community Center hosted by South Bend, the construction firm for the proposed jail, and the Delaware County Public Facilities Authority. Both bodies will make presentation and take questions from the public.

In other action Tuesday the council voted unanimously to deny a proposed re-zoning of a section of the city for the construction of duplex units.

The council also discussed plans to purchase a new multi-purpose excavator for the Street Department.