Many residents don't understand why Clay County is building a new jail, say county officials.
Some have compared the exterior to the Taj Mahal, said Clay County Commissioner President David Parr and Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton on Monday.
"I'm anxious to get this thing open so the public can go in and see it's just a jail inside," said Parr.
During the commissioners meeting everyone agreed federal mandates would not only demand a new jail be built later, but such a jail would be much more expensive than the facility now under construction.
"After inmates are moved to the new facility, I want to open up the current jail and let the public see the conditions we now have," said Heaton.
"It's a matter of inmate safety and public safety," said Commissioner Daryl Andrews. "If we don't have a new jail, someone will be injured or killed sooner or later."
While county officials are glad to see jail construction nearing completion, the new facility won't be completely ready for use by Oct. 1, said construction supervisor Gary Rodgers.
On Monday, the commissioners unanimously approved the telephone contract for the new jail, though there was extensive discussion over how a signing bonus and commission should be used.
County Attorney Eric Somheil told commissioners they can make recommendations, but that authority rests in the hands of the county council.
The commissioners then recommended the county council put the signing bonus and commission in the Sheriff's Department Commissary Fund, so that it can be used at the sheriff's discretion to buy equipment not in the budget.
The commissioners also agreed to advertise bids for jail office furniture. The bids are expected to be opened at 9:30 a.m. on Aug. 29.