County discusses jail buyout

Catawba County officials continue discussions about selling the county’s portion of the Burke-Catawba District Confinement Facility.
Representatives from both counties are set to meet in the coming weeks to consider Catawba County’s options in selling it’s 88-bed share of the detention facility.
“The cost for Catawba (County) to be bought out is the cost of building a pod (at the Catawba County jail),” said County Manager Tom Lundy.
The price to build the facility is estimated at about $4 to $5 million, and discussions about Burke County potentially buying back its half of the facility have been ongoing for several years.
“It makes perfect sense in the long-term for Burke to own the facility,” Lundy said.
Burke has a downtown jail facility, as well as the joint Burke-Catawba facility. State jail inspectors ordered Burke officials to make necessary renovations to the facility or face jail closure.
“Some years we didn’t use all our beds, and other years we had to pay out because we needed the beds,” Lundy said. “Burke is in a position where they’re renting beds from us every day.”
But selling its share of the 176-bed, $5.1-million facility means Catawba County will lose money earned through leasing bed space to non-Catawba County prisoners.
“It’s not just about the cost; it’s also about the revenue loss,” Lundy said.