Baltimore Co., state compromise on jail addition

October 26, 1990|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Evening Sun Staff

The planned addition to the Baltimore County Detention Center will cost nearly $11 million less than originally planned, which will halve the county's contribution to the project.

The reduced cost, down from $27 million to $16 million, resulted from a compromise between the county and state on the size of the addition.

County Executive Dennis F. Rasmussen yesterday said the state is to provide its share of the cost as part of the 1991 capital budget.

The county was to have provided $10 million of the original price, but now its share will be less than $5 million, said Frank C. Robey, the county administrative officer.

The fight over the size of the new building resulted when the state insisted last fall that the planned 216-cell addition be completely double-celled -- two inmates to a cell. The county said that was too many people for the kitchen, sanitary and recreational facilities available. The compromise calls for a 100-cell, 200-bed addition.

Before Rasmussen delivered the news about the compromise, his Republican challenger and the GOP nominee for sheriff blasted the current administration for dragging its feet on solving the county jail's overcrowding problem.

GOP sheriff candidate Norman Pepersack said at a joint news conference with Republican county executive candidate Roger B. Hayden that 60 to 80 more cells at the main detention center on Kenilworth Drive in Towson could and should be double-celled.

The challengers also said that the county should be planning now for a new detention center to be placed elsewhere because the 200-bed addition "will be full the day it opens."

Rasmussen characterized Republican charges that the county has dragged its feet on the jail addition as "absolutely untrue. They're suggesting we do things we're already doing."

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