EASTMAN, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – After almost two years of sitting empty, the new Dodge County jail could be up and running as early as April 2013.
Workers finished construction on Dodge County's new law enforcement center in June 2011, but the facility never opened.
"They can't understand why the jail hasn't been opened and I don't have any answers for them," said Dodge County Sheriff Lynn Sheffield.
Sheffield was sworn in as the new Dodge County sheriff earlier this year. Since then, he's made it his duty to handle all of the county's unfinished business, one cell at a time.
"It's costing tax payers money to house inmates at other institutions, and if we can get moved into this jail, it will benefit everyone," Sheffield said.
Since 2011, almost $6,000 a month in utility bills have gone to the new building. It costs $35 a day to house an inmate. While it's been over a year, no one seems to have a concrete answer as to why the building it still empty. The sheriff believes it has to do with money and other issues, while Dodge County Commissioner Dan McCranie said the delay had to with maintenance issues and problems with the grinder.
"There was some contention," Sheffield said, "but I'm not sure cause I wasn't involved in the process."
Now that he is involved, Sheffield plans to work with the commissioners and the city. He said the next step is to work on maintenance, training and hiring.