New home for sheriff still out of reach

WOODSTOCK – Consultants say Shenandoah County could build a new sheriff’s headquarters for less than earlier estimates, but the project remains out of reach.

Representatives with Grimm and Parker presented new information to the Board of Supervisors on Thursday related to the Sheriff’s Office Complex Feasibility Study that looks at options that would give the law enforcement agency a new home.

James R. Boyd, partner with Grimm and Parker, and project manager Patricia Jessee updated the board about two months after making the initial presentation of the study. This time the consultants presented a fourth design – essentially a scaled-back, less costly version of an option that would use property recently acquired by the county on North Main Street in Woodstock.

Conceptual estimates presented in June put the cost between $9.69 million and $10.93 million. The consultants’ fourth option could cost just under $9 million, which would eliminate the processing center and reduce office space.

Sheriff Timothy Carter first asked the board if members would acknowledge that his agency works in less-than-adequate conditions. Carter pointed out that his agency has used the basement under the circuit court building as its main office for about 40 years – an area he said likely was not designed as office space.

Several supervisors agreed with Carter but also questioned how the county could help his agency without the money. Carter has said in the past that he would use funds from asset forfeiture – money the department receives when it works federal law enforcement agencies on investigations – to cover the cost of such a project.

But the Sheriff’s Office doesn’t have enough funds to build even the scaled-back version of the project and it remains uncertain if and when the agency would receive the needed revenue.

District 4 Supervisor Cindy Bailey, often a supporter of the Sheriff’s Office funding requests, noted that the county lacks the money for such a project and still has debts to reconcile.

Carter asked if building the project in phases would reduce the cost up front. A phased approach would end up costing more in the long run, Boyd noted.

While the board reached no consensus on whether or not to pursue any of the options, supervisors and the sheriff agreed to continue working with the consultants.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com