St. Louis board OKs $1.5M to fix lock system at jail
Officials have yet to release a cost estimate for repairing the damage, but it is "way into the thousands of dollars"
By Mark Schlinkmann
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
ST. LOUIS — A city board on Wednesday approved spending $1.5 million to fix the faulty lock system at the downtown jail that allowed some inmates to get out of their cells to take part in a riot earlier this month.
The Board of Estimate and Apportionment voted to use money that had been budgeted for employee salaries at the facility but won't be needed because of ongoing vacancies, Budget Director Paul Payne said.
Jacob Long, a spokesman for Mayor Lyda Krewson, said the work is projected to take 10 to 12 weeks. Officials said more money may be needed to cover the overall cost.
The jail's locking systems also will be reviewed by a new task force to examine how approximately 115 inmates commandeered the fourth floor, set fires, clogged drains, shattered windows and hurled furniture to the sidewalk below.
City officials have yet to release a cost estimate for repairing the damage but the mayor has said it is "way into the thousands of dollars."
Payne said the estimate board on Wednesday also transferred $500,000 to pay for hiring more private security guards at the jail to help offset the shortage of corrections officers on staff there.
The board also on Wednesday endorsed issuing about $5 million in tax incentives needed to convince Anheuser-Busch to develop a $100 million food production facility at its St. Louis brewery complex.
The property tax breaks are associated with $85 million in industrial revenue bonds endorsed by the board. The bonds would be issued by the city and paid off from revenues generated by the facility.
An additional $15 million in bonds could be submitted later for approval. The facility would use grain waste products from the brewing process for reuse in food production.
The Board of Aldermen in late 2019 approved the incentive package and city development officials said the company had recently requested the estimate board's backing. They see that as a sign that the city has a good chance of landing the facility.
A company spokeswoman did not comment Wednesday.
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