County OKs jail expenditures

Howard County commissioners approved a number of routine items Monday, including a $1,300 expenditure at the county jail that will make it easier to house inmates, according to jail officials.According to Jail Administrator Mike Dawson, the inability to isolate water sources in jail cells — specifically to showers and sinks — has made it tough to house a smaller number of inmates than designed for the areas.However, some rather inexpensive valves and some plumbing know-how will fix that problem, Dawson told commissioners.“The total cost of the project is $1,300, and that's for the valves,” Dawson said during Monday's meeting. “We need some half-inch valves to isolate the plumbing in the cells. We also need some valves in the laundry areas.“The $1,300 is for materials only. We have a master licensed plumber on staff who is going to do the work. I recently had County Judge (Mark) Barr out at the jail and I corralled him and showed him what it would take. It could really save us some money in the long run.”Barr agreed, saying the work could be done at a minimal cost to the county.“It's not a very big job at all,” Barr said. “You're talking about going in and putting in a nipple and a valve. I think it's a good idea. In the long run I think it's going to be a really good idea.”Commissioners approved the expense on a unanimous vote.Another project the court approved — but not quite as excitedly — was the $2,500 cost for the repair of a decorative mailbox in the county. According to Road and Bridge Administrator Eddy Jameson, the mailbox, constructed mainly of brick, was struck by a driver in his department while working on a county road.According to county officials, the damage is not covered by county insurance.“I don't see any way around it,” Precinct 2 Commissioner Donnie Baker said, as the court voted unanimously to cover the cost of the repairs.Commissioners were unable to meet with Gene Valentini and Leslie Soto of the Lubbock County Juvenile Mediation Services during Monday's meeting because of a scheduling conflict.