Fulton Commission wants existing jail facilities assessed for renovation costs

Funding for jail renovations and a possible new building for behavioral health and medical beds would come from bond proceeds and funds that currently go to tax allocation districts that are set to expire.

The Fulton County Commission approved a request for proposals to assess Fulton County Jail facilities for renovations instead of building a costly new facility.

During the July 10 commission meeting, Steve Nawrocki, an assistant chief strategy officer for the county, said the firm chosen for project management services will provide options of what can be delivered within the maximum budget available. The request for proposals (RFP) includes the requirement that funding the work will not involve a millage rate increase.

The $10 million appropriated in the 2024 county budget for construction costs for a new jail would be repurposed to support jail refurbishment and rehab of existing facilities, Chief Financial Officer Sharon Whitmore said. Those funds are anticipated to generate up to $150 million in bond proceeds to fund the project.

She said when tax allocation districts are retired, the funds that will return to the county could support another $85 to $150 million in bond proceeds.

The projected timeline would have the facility assessment begin in January 2025 and the commissioners would vote on the project scope in July 2025, Nawrocki said.

The consultant chosen through the RFP will develop a plan for inmate housing during construction. Davis said staff expects the need for behavioral health and medical beds to be identified as the most critical need.

Commissioner Dana Barrett asked what the impact of waiting to build the special-purpose building would be on the existing facilities.

Nawrocki and Davis said they were unable to provide cost projections before the existing facilities have been assessed.

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Rough Draft Atlanta and Reporter Newspapers.

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