Beaufort County Commissioners Vote To Pursue Other Jail Funding Options

The USDA may not be lending Beaufort County millions of dollars for a proposed public safety facility, but the county is not out of options for funding.

The Beaufort County Commissioners met Monday night to approve new financing options and go forward with construction plans.

Commissioners approved by a 4 to 3 vote to pursue a limited obligation bond to finance the facility in Chocowinity.

Jim Chrisman, the county's finance officer, explained that through this option, they will have to seek approval from the Local Government Commission. That commission is a division of the state treasurer's office that oversees fiscal activities of municipalities across the state.

Chrisman said that the LGC would likely require them to have a public hearing before giving approval.

Just a few weeks ago following a public hearing, the USDA denied a nearly $20 million dollar loan to the county for the jail unless citizens voted for it.

Also at Monday night's meeting, the general contractor for the project was given the greenlight for $1.4 million dollars in steel cells to be purchased after financing is approved.

William Cram, who is with the construction company that will oversee the building of the Chocowinity facility, says thanks to the board's decisions, they can go ahead with receiving bids from prequalified subcontractors.

The board of commissioners now has to file an application with the local government commission, then revisit their next steps.