BENTON - Scott County officials are ready to begin the application process for staffing the new county jail.
During the regular county commission meeting Tuesday Sheriff Bill Ferrell presented commissioners with a document showing the staff required for the new jail.
County commissioners will gather starting salary information for the new positions and place advertisements seeking applicants.
Commissioners and the sheriff began their meeting by discussing security issues and some equipment for the jail. Lt. Jim Chambers of the sheriff's department said the new jail will need 15 new computer stations.
The discussion soon turned to staffing requirements. Although commissioners would prefer to wait as long as possible before putting additional staff on the payroll, the new people must be hired as soon as possible so they can be enrolled in this year's last remaining training opportunity.
All jail staff are required to have a minimum one-week, 40 hour training course.
"The sooner we get them in the class the better for us," said Chambers.
Commissioners also asked if all the 31 positions listed were necessary.
While getting rid of someone once they are hired is difficult if they find they have overstaffed, "we can always add someone," said Martin Priggel, presiding commissioner.
"I didn't expect to fill all those positions by January 1," said Ferrell. "This is the number of people it takes to do the job."
Ferrell said the number was carefully considered keeping security issues in mind as well as transportation duties for 120 prisoners. "We've been operating short-handed as it is," Ferrell said.
"We'll have somebody sick who needs to go to the doctor every day," the sheriff predicted. "Maybe two or three of them a day."
Priggel said it is sounding like it will cost more to run the new jail than it costs to board prisoners out of county.
"To have this jail is not going to be cheaper," said Ferrell. "It wasn't about what's cheaper."
He said the new jail was needed not to save costs but because the present jail is overcrowded and not American Disabilities Act compliant.
In other Scott County news:
* It won't be who you know, but what's in your wallet that will count at the polls from now on.
"People are used to knowing the election judges," said Rita Milam, county clerk. "They need to know an ID would simplify things for them."
Milam said voters who forget to bring their identification to the polls will need an affidavit signed by two senior election judges verifying they know them before they will receive a ballot.
* Scott County Economic Developer Jim Schwaninger updated commissioners on his progress researching grants and other economic development activity.
He reported there are grants available directly through the U.S. Department of Justice for new construction projects but they require up-to-date crime reports.
Schwaninger also reported on the downtown renovation project in Sikeston. "Steve Ferrell is setting the railroad ties, track and caboose over the next few days," he said.
The downtown area is also supposed to include other improvements such as wrought iron fencing and lighting, Schwaninger said, but bids on the renovation came in too high.