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Tuesday September 30th 2014

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Agenda Review: Commissioners asked to be kept informed

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The Escambia County commissioners asked this morning at their agenda review meeting to be better informed about the jail explosion and flood recovery activities.

“The citizen rely on their elected official,” said Chairman Lumon May. “I accept that responsibility but also ask that the chairman be kept informed.”

May expressed disappointment that he had to read about a proposed gym at the Perdido Landfill in the daily newspaper. “The timing isn’t good,” said May.

County staff assured him that the gym had been scrapped because the bids were beyond the budget. The county has four other workout rooms that HR Director Tom Turner asserted had helped keep health insurance costs down. The Perdido Landfill employees will be allowed to use those facilities.

The Board of County Commissioners had several questions for Corrections Director Gordon Pike over the emergency purchase orders for the jail. Pike explained that housing costs, about $5 million, were for an estimated 12-month period.

Commissioner Steven Barry asked that more detail be included in the future so that he and his fellow commissioners can better understand the purchase orders.

County Budget Director Amy Lovoy explained that insurance will pay for the temporary housing and most of the expenditures. FEMA should reimburse the balance of the costs, minus a 12-percent from the county.

The only caveat was offered by County Attorney Alison Rogers. She warned that FEMA may not reimburse the county for the jail explosion if it’s determined that the flooding didn’t cause the blast.

Rogers also said that the State Attorney’s Office and the State Fire Marshall have notified of their potential criminal investigations, which will take months.