The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

October 9, 2012

Jasper County Commission approves contract for inventory at sheriff’s office

By Susan Redden

CARTHAGE, Mo. — The Jasper County Commission on Tuesday approved a contract for an inventory of property owned by the Sheriff’s Department and authorized condemnation proceedings to acquire property next to the county jail.

The commissioners on the recommendation of Richard Webster, county auditor, accepted a bid from American Appraisal to do the sheriff’s inventory at a cost of $7,425.

Four firms submitted bids, with one proposing a cost of nearly $20,000.

“With such a variance in bids, I called a couple of firms and there wasn’t much difference in what they propose to do,” Webster said. “We agreed on the number of people, and the procedures, they would use.”

Webster earlier said the county is to maintain an inventory of every office, and that when there is a change in office, there is supposed to be an audit, including an inventory. There will be a change in the sheriff’s office as of Jan. 1 after Sheriff Archie Dunn lost the Republican primary to challenger Randee Kaiser.

The auditor said his office has an accounting of sheriff’s vehicles, but he wants an updated inventory on other equipment, furniture and fixtures. The work is to be done by a private contractor because the auditor does not have the staff to complete the work.

The commissioners, at the recommendation of Norman Rouse, attorney for the commission, agreed to begin condemnation proceedings to acquire land on the east side of the county jail.

“The jail’s not getting any bigger, and that east side would be well-suited for expansion,” Rouse said.

Rouse noted that the jail recently had been averaging about 200 inmates per day. The jail capacity was a source of conflict between Dunn and the commissioners, and Dunn at one point moved county inmates to other jails, citing overcrowding. The commissioners refused to pay the bills, saying the services were not part of the sheriff’s budget or the subject of an approved contract.

The largest bill was from Henry County, which is suing Jasper County and the sheriff, seeking payment of more than $134,000.

Under condemnation proceedings, Rouse said, the county would declare a public need for the property, and its value would be set by a board named by the circuit court. A successful action would give the county access to the property based on the value set, but that amount could be appealed to circuit court by the owner.

John Bartosh, presiding commissioner, said the property is about one block square and contains two vacant fire-damaged homes. He said he had tried for several years to buy the property but had been unsuccessful.

Rouse said there are no immediate jail expansion plans, but the land could be used as a parking lot before such plans are developed.

Repairs are under way to the interior of the jail, including work on cell doors and locks, and other security systems, at a cost of $816,000.


THE COUNTY COMMISSION on Tuesday appointed Eric Farrell to the Jasper-Newton County Environmental Task Force, filling a vacancy created by the death last month of Chuck Surface.