UNIONTOWN (KDKA) — It was contentious in the Fayette County Commissioners’ conference room Wednesday.
“Trust me, I don’t want to spend $30 million on something like this if we didn’t have to,” said Fayette County Commissioner Vince Zapotosky.
“There are other options and we’re not discussing them, added Fayette County Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink.
Packed with citizens and county officials, the measure to buy property to build a new $30 million jail passed two to one at the meeting.
Commissioner Zimmerlink cast the lone no vote.
“I’m not looking to stop the process of finding a solution,” she said. “They are making these decisions behind closed doors.”
Opponents of the present prison plan say the timing of Wednesday’s meeting was questionable, claiming an 8:30 a.m. meeting was out of the ordinary and inconvenient for citizens.
“It’s not a matter of not wanting a prison; I think we all know we need a prison,” said Terry Kris, a Fayette County resident. “We’re being locked out. It’s a one-sided deal.”
“First of all, I didn’t notice anybody who couldn’t get here,” Fayette County Commissioner Al Ambrosini said. “We looked at all reasonable options.”
The present facility, which is 125-years-old, is overcrowded, falling apart, inefficient and costing tax payers.
Commissioners Ambrosini and Zapotosky voted in favor of the plan.
Their attitude, pay some now or pay more over the long term.
“Every month we delay this project we’re losing $200,000,” said Ambrosini.
Those opposing the plan say they’re circulating a petition to halt it. But to have that put on the ballot takes commissioner approval.