COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Columbus City Council voted unanimously to provide the Muscogee County Sheriff's Office with a mobile kitchen for inmates at the county jail, while the city starts major repairs on the existing kitchen.
A closer look at the conditions inside the kitchen reveals a problem that's been on the Sheriff's Office's radar.
"It's a situation that was in desperate need of correction," said Maj. Joe McCrea, public information officer for the MCSO. "We're really appreciative that the city is working with us, as well as they are, to obtain the funding and get it taken care of."
During the September 26 meeting, City Manager Isaiah Hugley presented a report to Mayor Teresa Tomlinson and councilors. The report says, in part, the floors in the jail's kitchen area "safety hazard" and in "violation of health codes."
Hugley's report clarified that the Sheriff's office is working with city engineers to remove the current tile floor and install new drains.
But the repairs pose another problem for the Sheriff's Office.
"You can't replace the floor and run the kitchen at the same time," McCrea said,"so that's where the mobile kitchen comes in."
McCrea told News Leader 9 the Sheriff's Office plans to set the mobile kitchen up outside the facility, where employees will prepare the meals on site and bring them inside the jail to serve the inmates.
"There'll be a bit of an increase in the meal cost per day, per meal," McCrea said, "because of having to use additional paper products and other issues associated with having a mobile kitchen."
It's now up to the food vendors contracted by the county jail to bring in the proper equipment and set up to make meals for the inmates.
The city manager's office estimates installing this kitchen should cost somewhere between $110-165,000.
Both the Sheriff's Office and the city of Columbus said that estimate on the kitchen repair's costs could go higher or lower, depending on when they finish with a time frame of 30 to 60 days.