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Howard County jail expansion given go-ahead

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The Howard County Quorum Court gave the go-ahead to Sheriff Bryan McJunkins to begin steps for a jail expansion.

Most of the time used for discussing the project actually concerned how to use the American Recovery Funds legally and for best effect. The funds which are reserved for certain type projects must strictly be accounted for. The vote to begin the jail project was unanimous on the motion by JP D’Ann Rogers. The expansion could cost upwards of $1.2 million.

By a 2-5 vote the JPs declined to renew the ambulance contract with Pafford. The sticking point in the contract was apparently “Paragraph 5” which would have made any incoming non-specific medical grant automatically go to the ambulance franchise.

County Judge Brent Pinkerton was concerned about Pafford’s expansion and services here. “The more they expand, the more our service here is watered down.”

JP Kerry Strasner, a frequent critic of the lack of ambulance presence in the north county, said that the contract should be more to the county’s advantage.

No one from Pafford was present.

The JPs voted approval of an airport effort to seek an 80-20 grant for lighting; and also approved an ordinance which gives an air conditioning company the ability to do business with the county despite being related to a courthouse employee. The service is to renovate heating and cooling at the Senior Citizens Center.

JPs present for the regular meeting for September included D’Ann Rogers, Don Marks, Jerry Harwell, Kerry Strasner, Martha Hobbs, Liz McDaniel and Janet Lay O’Neal. Also County Judge Brent Pinkerton, Sheriff Bryan McJunkins, County Clerk Kerri Teague, Assessor Cindy Butler, OES Coordinator Roddy Smith, Veterans Service Officer John Hill, administrative assistant Kelly Windham, and deputy county clerk Betsabe Mercado. Also present was former Circuit Clerk Bobbi Jo Green who has been recommended to the governor to fill the vacancy created by the death of veteran JP Bobby Don Turner. Judge Pinkerton said that the governor had taken no action.

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