Andrew County officials want to expand the jail they opened in October 2012.

“It was built with an extra unfinished pod,” said Cindy Esely, the Andrew County treasurer. “The unfinished pod already has the necessary electrical and plumbing outlets. This would allow the jail to house an additional 20 inmates.”

When first opened in 2012, the jail housed about an average of 11 prisoners daily.

It took several years, before the sheriff had enough contracts to bring the jail up to capacity, Esely said.

This year, the jail has a daily average of 58 prisoners, which includes about 37 from Andrew County, one from Holt County, 11 from Clinton County and nine from the city of Independence, Missouri, said Sheriff Bryan Atkins.

With the addition of the Independence prisoners, the jail is paying for itself, Esely said.

And now the city of Independence wants to contract to have the jail hold another 20 prisoners if the additional pod is finished, Esely said.

Bob Caldwell, the president of the Andrew County Public Benefit Corporation and the county’s presiding commissioner, said the addition of another pod is seen as a profitable project that can add between $255,500 and $292,000 in annual revenue.

When the jail opened in 2012, the county saved some $200,000 a year it had been paying the Daviess/DeKalb Regional Jail to house its prisoners, Howard said.

Esely the cost to finish the jail will be about $565,500.

The only additional cost would be to hire two more jailers, which would be included in the budget, Esely said.

The county plans to assist in paying the salary for the two jailers and other expenses associated with housing an additional 20 prisoners by increasing the cost for staying overnight in the jail from $35 to $40.

The plan is to obtain a U.S. Department of Agriculture low-interest loan to cover the construction cost if a construction bid fits within the planned budget.

Elected county officials said Thursday they supported the concept and hope it would allow the county to have more money in its general revenue fund.

By Marshall White |marshall.white@newspressnow.com