Sheriff asks county to fix jail

January 22, 2013

LUDINGTON — Mason County’s new sheriff, Kim Cole, is wasting no time in following up on his campaign promises. Today, Cole and Undersheriff Jody Hartley, met with the Mason County Public Safety and Courts Committee to discuss repairs to the jail.
Hartley is compiled a list of areas in the 14-year-old building that are in need of repairs. The 8-pages of notes include items from painting walls to fixing mold and mildew. Many of the items can be covered under the regular budget of the department, but some items require additional funds, which must be approved by the county commission.
The top priorities of those items is cleaning the duct work in the building.
“The air in this building re-circulates,” Hartley said. “This includes air from our evidence room which contains many toxins, including marijuana which produces mold. This is air that everyone in this building breaths. The corrections officers often note that when when officer gets sick, it’s common for the rest to get sick, because they are all breathing the same air.”
The sheriff’s office sought bids for cleaning the ducts. They chose to go with Hankwitz Heating, Air Conditioning and Duct Cleaning of Ludington, which bid the job at $18,040. The next closest bid came from Van’s Plumbing and Heating of Cedar Springs for $18,900. The committee voted to pass the request to the county’s finance committee.
County Commissioner Janet Anderson suggested Cole and Hartley prioritize the list.
“I want you to be made aware of what kind of condition this building is in,” Cole told the committee, which consists of commissioners Joe Lenius, Janet Anderson and Bill Carpenter. “This is a county building, this is your building, and as sheriff I am not going to stand before you and demand anything, but I do think you should know what the potential problems are.
“I appreciate you looking at the duct work. Our number one issue is to protect the people in this building the best we can.”
Cole said the department’s conference room, which the meeting was held in, has a lot of water leakage issues. It sits below the jail’s showers which have caused leaks for many years. The north wall of the room also has leaks from the exterior.
The committee decided that it will take a tour of the jail at its February meeting, and will look at other areas that are a concern.

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