BRENTWOOD – The Rockingham County delegation voted on a $ 30 million bond on Monday for the construction of a new county complex to house the sheriff’s office, the registry of deeds and the county attorney’s office.
A quorum of 90 state representatives in the county voted 46-3 to approve the project, which will be combined with $ 25 million in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to build the $ 50 million complex. It is proposed that the new complex be constructed opposite the entrance to the County Jail on North Road.
âI’m really excited that we made the connection. We expect this to be a building that will last 50 years for the county, âsaid Tom Tombarello, chair of the Rockingham County Commissioners Council. âThis project would not have seen the light of day without the money from ARPA. If we were to get past it now and wait five years later, we’re looking at a $ 90 million project.
The final design was presented to the Rockingham County Executive Committee, made up of 16 state officials, on September 15, and a public hearing was held on the link that night, Tombarello said. The Rockingham Council of Commissioners voted 3-0 to recommend the link to the executive committee.
During the meeting, Tombarello said the commissioners presented a 10-page package documenting the building’s current deficiencies, dating back to 1995. These include mold damage in the Rockingham Upper Courthouse, which the county pays $ 250,000 per year in rent to the state to house the attorney general and registry of deeds.
“We need to get the deed book and the county attorney out of the courthouse, it’s not fair to our employees with mold and other issues at the courthouse,” County Commissioner Brian Chirichiello of the courthouse said. Derry. âThey’re on top of each other in the sheriff’s office, dispatchers are practically in a closet. The only thing we’ve learned from COVID is that you need the space to be able to socially distance yourself so that we can use ARPA funds for whatever helps us do that. “
Tombarello said he is using ARPA funds for the project, he must be under contract before 2024.
He said he hoped to innovate in the spring with the aim of completing it by 2026.
Tombarello said state representative David Milz, R-Derry, will lead a subcommittee made up of representatives from each department moving into the new facility to iron out the final design and details of the space allocations. One of the main components that will be housed in the new facility is a 60-day community corrections program, overseen by the Department of Corrections.
The $ 50 million estimate is four years old, Tombarello said previously. However, Commissioner Kate Coyle said that based on previous estimates for the construction of the new facility and the scope of the project so far, the county will know early in the design process what the specific costs will be and whether additional components will have to be reduced. for construction.
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“In an ideal world, we would have buttoned everything up before the delegation voted in favor of the bond, but the timing and use of ARPA’s money was the reason it happened this way,” said Coyle, of Portsmouth. âIt also doesn’t make sense to go too far with the design in the absence of money clearance. There is still work to be done on the final design and allocation of space, and there will be further public hearings for the fit-out of the building.
Coyle had had already opposed how the draft was originally presented to the county delegation and the public and noted that the previous public hearing in June was not properly noted as being in compliance with state law. She said this time around, she fully supported the presentation of the link and scope of the project, especially given the widespread support for the community corrections program.
A new complex will allow the prison to expand its programs
Jason Henry, superintendent of Rockingham County Jail, said that due to the spatial limitations of the current sheriff’s office space inside the jail, the Corrections is only able to offer a 28-day program only to inmates leaving prison.
Henry said the new facility will allow for a 90-day community corrections program designed to dramatically reduce recidivism. He said the community corrections program will be modeled in the same way as the programs offered in Carroll and Sullivan counties.
Henry said the community corrections program allows for a work release program with electronic monitoring. When inmates are released, the community corrections program case managers will work with them for a year to alleviate the stress associated with reintegration into society.
âA one-year follow-up is essential,â said Henry. âCase managers will be able to track and monitor people to make sure they’re making all of their appointments, that sort of thing.
Henry said Carroll County had not built a separate facility to house community corrections and that it had not had the same success as Sullivan County, which had, and that he had seen his recidivism rate drop from about 50% to 18%.
âLooking at Carroll County, they were sending people back to the same unit (in jail) with other people they were incarcerated with, so a separate facility for community corrections makes a huge difference,â Henry said. “This vote shows that there is strong support across the county for community corrections, and strong support from our residents that they don’t want people going back to jail.”
Yet, said Henry, delivering a more robust community corrections program will not be a panacea for tackling crime across the county. Rockingham County still does not have an inpatient rehabilitation program and transitional housing for people with substance abuse disorders.
Henry said the next step for the county is to identify a community that can house such a bridging facility that provides those who stay there with transportation and a wide variety of jobs within the community while they work for get back on your feet. He said ideally in the future the county will invest in a transitional housing center and partner with a local agency to manage the program.