ANDERSON – Madison County accepted bids for a proposal to convert a building for use as a women’s work release center, but local officials are awaiting word on a state grant.
The county is considering the remodeling of two buildings formerly part of the Triple-L youth center on the city’s east side for use as a work release center and to relocate the Madison County Council of Government (COG) offices from the first floor of the county courthouse.
The two buildings are at the northeast corner of Rangeline and Mounds roads.
The opening of a women’s work release center in Madison County is dependent on state funding to assist with the projected operating costs of $400,000.
Two companies bid on the work. Fredericks Contractors submitted a bid of $269,039 for the work at the release center, $267,000 for the COG facility and $110,000 for parking lot improvements. Myer Construction bid $325,091 for the work release center, $297,000 for the COG offices and $105,000 for the parking lot work.
The Madison County Board of Commissioners last week accepted the bids but made no decision on awarding a contract. Bids are good for 120 days and they were received on Dec. 13.
Dan Dykes, county administrator, was directed to negotiate with Fredericks for a lower price on the work and to look into a local contractor to be the construction manager.
Dykes said the commissioners have to determine what projects they want to do and in what order the work will be done.
“The state could provide some funding for operational costs,” he said.
Dykes said the original thought was the prices for the remodeling costs were too high.
Ann Roberts, executive director of the Community Justice Center, said she submitted a grant request with the state in December.
“Our fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30,” she said. “We won’t hear until before June 30.”
Roberts said the county submitted a request for $399,000 with the state for operating costs. She said the largest expense is staffing for the facility that operates around the clock, every day of the year.
“Unless there is some state funding, the women’s work release center probably won’t happen,” she said. “We need a women’s work release center.”
The proposed center would house 24 women, who would be charged $13.57 per day. That would generate approximately $119,000 per year if operating at capacity.
Twice before, Madison County attempted to operate a women’s work release center in the late 1990s and again in the early 2000s without success. Those efforts failed because of a lack of referrals from the courts, or enough women offenders to support the program.
“The times have changed,” Roberts said. “There are more women being arrested now.”
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