Pulaski County Judge Buddy Villines said last week the county should expand its jail now to avoid higher construction costs later.

He said county commissioners should use a short-term loan to build the proposed $4.5 million addition that would include a 240-bed medium security area.

Villines wants the county to set aside $1.9 million from general fund reserves to pay debt service in fiscal 2009 and 2010 on its existing short-term loans, and pay debt service on the new short-term loan with annual revenues. The county can use $447,000 from the state to make a downpayment on the jail addition, the judge said.

“We are in a financial position that we can do it,” he told the county’s Ways and Means Committee. “In light of increasing construction costs, let’s move forward. Let’s get construction costs tied down and build it.”

Pulaski Sheriff Doc Holladay said the county needs to open 1,530 beds over the next 10 years.

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