The Marshall County Holding Corporation held its annual meeting Monday. The board approved new member Marty Oosterbaan to fill the vacancy of John Zentz. The board approved the continuation of each office holder with President Carol Brown, new member and Vice President Oosterbaan, and Secretary-Treasurer Kent Borggren.

Marshall County Attorney Jim Clevenger explained the entity as a unique corporation set up primarily by statute to have one function which is to serve as a funding mechanism for jail construction and maintenance. It abides by the corporate rules set forth by the State of Indiana. Since it is a public corporate entity, they hold an annual meeting.

Marshall County Auditor Julie Fox presented a report of good standing to the board with an ending cash balance for the Local Income Tax (LIT) Special Purpose of $9,451,168.21 as of May 7, 2022. The beginning balance for 2022 was $9,641,242.98. Total receipts for 2022 to date as of May 7 were $1,233,952.57 with total disbursed at $1,424,027.34.

That balance reflects a low-interest rate that Marshall County benefited from when the county refinanced in 2013. Marshall County had the option to lock in a reduced interest rate again earlier this year but did not choose to refinance. Pending state legislation may impact the LIT next year at which point government leadership will explore their options again.

There are five years left of payments for the bonds which will come due in 2027. The earliest that Marshall County can pay off the bonds is August 2022.

Invoices for 2021 are paid in full. Fox received the call for 2022 on Monday which will be processed during the next billing cycle.

Sheriff Hassel’s budget relies upon funding from the LIT. Maintenance expenses alone at the jail total over $2M annually.

The current jail was built in 2008. Sheriff Hassel updated the board that several important projects have been completed.

The obsolete main fire panel module and a defective annunciator panel at the public entrance have been replaced.

The fire sprinklers and piping have been removed in the server room. Domestic water lines over the servers have been removed and relocated. The fire sprinklers have been replaced with a dry system that will protect the servers.

One of three large UPS systems was placed and relocated to the electrical room. The UPS system ensures continued power in the event of a power outage or blackout as the backup generator kicks in. This ensures that inmates can be released from their cells in the event of a fire or other emergency.

The voltage regulator for the emergency regulator was replaced.

Two booster pumps have been rebuilt; one motor was rebuilt, and the other was replaced.

Water lines in the evidence room have been removed and relocated. This protects the evidence from potential water damage. According to Sheriff Hassel, Starke County had a pipe burst that damaged evidence in their evidence room. This potential destruction has been averted for Marshall County.

The lights in the walk-in cooler and the walk-in freezer were replaced with brighter, energy-efficient LED lights. Both units will eventually need to be replaced. Estimates are being sought.

Two mixing valves in the boiler room and the kitchen – laundry room have been replaced.

The water softener system has been replaced and the plumbing has been upgraded. The tank was leaking, rather than patch it the Marshall County Commissioners approved replacement.

The main water heater that provides hot water for the kitchen – laundry room, the administration area, the medical unit, and the booking area has been replaced due to a crack. The new system is a two-boiler – three-tank system which increases efficiency and is more reliable.

Current and future projects include upgrades to the four radio consoles from the former XP system to System 10.

The computer room at the Marshall County Correctional Facility will provide backup to all of Marshall County, which is part of the Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP). A full console will also be placed in the Emergency Management Agency office for backup.

All the computers at the consoles are being replaced with new ones and will be placed on towers as opposed to under the desks.

The video system at the jail will also be replaced and upgraded. “This is critical when you have an inmate that passes away on you. Everybody wants to see video. Did you do your job? Did you start CPR? Did you call the ambulance right away?” said Sheriff Hassel.

The company that has been approved to upgrade that video system recommended an upgrade to the intercom systems. Sheriff Hassel will be requesting an additional appropriation. “Each cell has an intercom and that’s how they call for help when there is something going wrong.” The video and audio are captured together.

Future Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) upgrades and replacements are also future projects; one for the kitchen and the other for booking and medical.

Supply chain issues and rising costs continue to burden the existing budget. Sheriff Hassel said that it is not efficient to wait for something to break down; they must take a proactive approach to maintenance. “We are trying to be more proactive rather than wait until something breaks because we know it takes forever to get it ordered and in.”

Though the inmate population was at 149 as of Monday, at any time the facility might be housing over 200 individuals. It is important to keep the facility functioning.

Attorney Clevenger echoed his praise reported during the Marshall County Commissioners meeting earlier Monday morning of the collaborative teamwork of the Marshall County Judicial System, Probation Office, Prosecutor’s Office, Sheriff’s Department, Community Corrections, and all other entities who increased efficiency and averted intervention resulting from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Class Action Lawsuit.

“The attorney that helped us on the ACLU Class Action case reported that their office has been involved in some of these and they also know other lawyers that have been involved. As far as they know we’re the only county that’s had an ACLU Class Action Lawsuit that did not end in some kind of ACLU intervention.” Attorney Clevenger emphasized the team effort.

Auditor Fox noted that a jail expansion might still be necessary for the future. There are 233 beds. The highest number of inmates at any time was 308. The goal is to keep the jail at 80% population capacity to comply with requirements including gender separation and the need to keep certain inmates apart from one another. Those classification requirements are set forth by the State of Indiana.

In the event of overcrowding, the jail has Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with Elkhart County and Fulton County to transfer inmates at an agreed cost until the population reduces to accommodate housing.

The board approved and ratified the completion and filing of the Certificate of Compliance.

By Jamie Fleury Staff Writer for the Pilot News

Pilot News Group Photo / Jamie Fleury

Marshall County Holding Corporation holds an annual meeting Monday. Shown in the photo from left to right: Marshall County Sheriff Matthew Hassel, Vice President Marty Oosterbaan, President Carol Brown, Secretary / Treasurer Kent Borggren, Marshall County Auditor Julie Fox, and Marshall County Attorney Jim Clevenger.