Doing time in the Bay County Jail is not supposed to be a pleasant experience, but a leaky roof has made life inside the facility miserable for inmates and staff.
When it rains, it pours inside the jail. "I don't think there's a single area on this old side that hasn't leaked from time to time," said Rick Anglin, Jail Facility Warden.
Anglin said the 70,000 square foot roof, installed when the building known as the "annex" was constructed in 1985, has leaked for years. Water has damaged ceiling tiles, walls and electronic equipment and created a safety hazard. "We've had numerous slip and falls by both employees and inmates," said Anglin.
Jail staff rigged tarps and plastic tubing to catch the water and send it to buckets, some installed on top of office file cabinets. According to the warden, temporary fixes are no longer holding because the membrane roof has deteriorated beyond repair.
At Tuesday's Bay County Commission meeting, the board agreed to write two big checks to plug the leaks once and for all. "We've put it off for about eight or ten years and it's just time," said Commissioner George Gainer. "It's going to do a lot of damage to the rest of the building... a lot of structural damage... if we don't go ahead and do something."
The county awarded a $997,997 contract to Kent Construction and Roofing to replace the roof. "We had a little foresight and we started saving up a little money, so it's not going to have a terrific impact on the budget," said Gainer. The county will pay half the expense this year and the balance in fiscal year 2013. Gainer said funding the repair project will not require an increase in ad valorem taxes.
Anglin said a new roof will allow his staff to concentrate on normal duties and eliminate the distractions that heavy rains often bring. "Rather than focusing on security issues and what you're supposed to be doing, you have to alter and focus on something extra," he said. "That becomes a security risk."
Anglin said the work will probably begin within the next two months and will take about six months to complete.