Jail help from Senator Tuberville

Choctaw County is aware that our jail was closed on July 17, 2019.  For three years and 8 months we have had to use contract jails to house our county inmates.  Choctaw County is paying on average $300,000 yearly in contract housing alone.  This has resulted in many decisions to keep things working.  Personally, I can tell you that trying to keep law and order without a jail is a very difficult task.
Tuesday, March 6, 2023 at 6 A.M., I received a text from Senator Tommy Tuberville’s’ regional director inquiring about the counties current financial situation with the future Choctaw County jail.  The text next led to early morning telephone calls with each other.  This was excellent timing because we were about to have a county commission meeting that morning at 9 A.M.  Together we discussed different potential financial possibilities for about an hour.
Minutes before the start of our commission meeting, I went into Probate Judge Jason Sturdivant’s office and briefed him on our communication about possible financial help.  Later while sitting in the commission meeting, I received a call from Senator Tuberville’s office.  I stepped outside of the meeting and proceeded to work on the jail issue.  The senator’s office wanted to know the cost of the jail project.  Without having exact figures because the architecture proposal is not complete yet, I told them 8 million dollars.  The senator’s office wanted to know if Choctaw County could pay 25%.  This would be about $2,000,000.  Of course, the answer is yes because we are currently looking at having to pay 100%.  Different financial options were weighed and a couple of different telephone calls occurred between us while I was outside of the commission meeting.  The last telephone call was the best news we could receive in Choctaw County.
Senator Tuberville’s’ office proposed to attempt providing Choctaw County direct congressional spending to cover the remaining cost of the jail project.  Direct Congressional spending means no strings attached.  This would help Choctaw County escape a big financial burden.  All that Senator Tuberville’s office required from Choctaw County is a cost estimate of the project before March 24, 2023. 
After receiving this news, I went back into the commission meeting and briefed everyone inside the meeting.  Probate Judge Jason Sturdivant told everyone that a cost estimate would be provided within that timeline.
I had previously met with Senator Tommy Tuberville’s regional director on July 7, 2021, to discuss the possibility of using the federally provided corona money for jail construction.  Back then it was uncertain if the money could be used for such purposes.  Choctaw County had been awarded $2,445,266.00.  Over time it was decided that corona money could be used for this purpose.
We must be aware that Congress is geared toward seniority and the more senior senators will have priority over spending decisions.  This process can be considered competitive in congressional circles.  I strongly encourage everyone in Choctaw County to keep up with the progress of Senator Tuberville’s attempt because if he succeeds it will be one of the most beneficial things to happen in Choctaw County in several years.

Scott Lolley Choctaw County Sheriff 205-459-2166