GALLIPOLIS — Gallia Commissioners say that the new Gallia Jail project will be moving forward but that project timelines and details will likely be delayed as the county handles challenges with the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We’re still working on the design phase,” said Commissioner David Smith. “The timeline is probably changing. As I’ve said, when we come out of this we’ll still need a jail. We’ve invested a lot of time and effort and money… We had a construction meeting scheduled today. We’re not doing in-person meetings but we are getting emails (from jail project collaborators). I would mention too that with the financial condition, we’ll have to evaluate the size (of the project) and our obligations.”
Commissioners recently asked county departments to prepare for budget reductions due to anticipated financial challenges as some businesses across the country have closed and public gatherings cancelled in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Commissioners said in a letter drafted to county department heads Thursday, “In order to do our best to protect the job security for all current county employees, we are implementing a hiring freeze (except for mission critical or required positions) and a wage/salary freeze (unless contractual) for all offices and departments under our hiring authority and we ask for the cooperation of other elected officials within our 2020 general fund budget (except for emergency or mission/time critical expenditures) until further notice and we ask for the cooperation of other elected officials and departments to do the same.”
“We are moving forward with the jail but at the present under the COVID-19 pandemic, everything has slowed down with the state agencies in submitting plans and other things,” said Commissioner Harold Montgomery. “At the end of the day, we’re going to need a jail and build a jail but we may be on a bit slower plan. In our early planning, we had dates that were set to accomplish certain parts of the project and those will likely be moved back a bit.”
Dean Wright is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing and can be reached at 740-446-2342.