MARION COUNTY, Fla. - The deal to sell the Marion County Jail has been postponed after commissioners had second thoughts about the plan.
County Commissioner Stan McClain is now going back to the bargaining table with the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) to work out a more reasonable offer.
“The offer that we have now, no. If they can bring back something that will make sense, then yes. But what we have on the table now does not work out” said Commissioner Kathy Bryant.
The plan was to sell the jail to CCA for $50 million and Marion County was going to lease it back to keep it under county control. However, the lease payments, which would occur over 20 years, could have cost taxpayers $130 million.
McClain said the county will only go forward with the deal if they can bring the expense down.
“I believe there are mathematical equations to lots of things in life and this is one of those things. If it doesn't add up, it doesn't add up. I like to make sure I've looked under every rock and every stone sort of speak, I guess,” said McClain.
If the sale is made, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office would still run security operations. But officials are concerned that CCA might be able to send in “its own” prisoners.
“Could it be inmates that are the worst of the worst? That upon their release date, they're released into our community?” asked Sheriff's Office Capt. James Pogue.
In the meantime, McClain has until late September to bring home a better deal.