Council to Vote on New Jail Proposal Richmond.


RICHMOND, VA(WWBT) City council has voted to approve the new jail. The jail project will cost more than 130 million dollars. The city will ask the state for help to pay for the project, that was part of what council leaders were approving tonight.

The new jail will have more than one thousand beds, which some community leaders fear will still be not enough. Tonight's vote was 5 to 3 with one abstention.

The only thing that could de-rail the construction now is a complaint by the NAACP to the Attorney General's office asking Ken Cuccinelli to weigh in on the city's procurement process.

The Attorney General's office said he has very little oversight of municipal procurement, but said he would look into the complaint.

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RICHMOND, VA(WWBT) There's never been a question Richmond needs a new jail. It's overcrowded has no AC-- and is considered by nearly everyone who has ever been inside --inhumane. But the construction contract awarded to Tompkins Ballard has been under continuous scrutiny.

"This process was flawed and people were cheated," said NAACP Executive Director King Salim Khalfani.

The plan is for a 116 million dollar 1,032 bed facility. The mayor wants city council to approve a resolution asking the state to help pay for 25 percent of the cost of the new jail.

"There have been some challenges along the way but at the end of the day we need a new jail and we need it sooner rather than later," said Mayor Dwight Jones.

Several council members have considered delaying tonight's vote. City auditor Umesh Dalal has launched an investigation into two city department's involved in awarding the jail contract to Tompkins Ballard.

Councilman Doug Conner says- he doesn't need to see the results of that audit to make a vote Monday.

"The main thing is to go ahead and build the jail because those guys are suffering in the meantime we keep dragging our feet. We're not moving forward and we just need to move forward," said Councilman Doug Conner

The mayor says delaying a vote would cost the city an extra five million dollars.

"I feel like we do need to move forward and unless there's some overriding issue with the procurement process that I would vote for this," said Councilman Chris Hilbert.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.