The Ellis County Sheriff’s Office and the Waxahachie Police Department renewed their inter-local agreement for continued use of the Wayne McCollum Detention Center, even with a $25 increase per inmate.
The police department has utilized the detention center to house inmates who have been arrested on class C misdemeanors for the past 20 years. Waxahachie Police Assistant Chief Dale Sigler stated that county jails are already required by statute to house inmates charged with offenses higher than class “C” violations at no expense to arresting agencies.
However, since the current station does not have the capacity to house those inmates, Sigler explained that the department has opted to continue its agreement with the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office.
“We don’t have the current facilities or the manpower to do it,” Sigler explained. “For us not to do that, we’d have to build our own jail facilities and staff it. Even if we wanted to, it would cost us several million [dollars] to do it.”
According to the memorandum, the cost in the original agreement was $35 per day per inmate in the detention center. Since then, however, Ellis County Sheriff Chuck Edge decided to increase the cost to $60 per day per inmate. According to the memorandum, the county has not increased its rate per inmate in approximately 15 years.
Sigler stated that the costs the department saves on the jail service are well worth the increase, adding that the sheriff notified the department of the planned increase so they could budget it for the upcoming year.
“To me, it’s among the best money that we spend here in the city,” Sigler remarked. “It’s still a steal, in my opinion. This is money well spent.”
The council unanimously approved the interlocal agreement.
REHABILITATION OF POLICE STATION BUILDING
The city council also approved a $100,000 funding contribution to rehabilitate the former police station building at 216 North College Street.
The original station building was vacated last year when the Waxahachie Police Department moved into its new station at 630 Farley Street in August. Since that time, the city has reviewed repurposing options for the former police station.
Eventually, they opted for a proposal by resident John Bailey to turn the former police station into a steak restaurant with its own bar and music venue.
Downtown Development Director Anita Brown stated that Bailey would oversee demolition and rehabilitation efforts for the development, as well as furnishings, fixtures and kitchen-related expenses for the new business. All costs in excess of the $100,000 contribution would also be paid out by Bailey.
"He's going to be in the game at least as much as we are," Brown remarked.