The Jefferson County Council tabled a decision to put $50,000 in good-faith money on a potential property for the new Jefferson County Jail during a joint meeting Thursday evening with the Jefferson County Commissioners.

The commissioners presented a contract that was created with the property owners to allow the county 75 days to determine if the property is suitable for the jail if they made the good-faith payment. The terms of the contract stipulated the good-faith payment would be taken off the total cost of the property — $360,000 — if the county finds the property suitable in the 75-day period.

The 63-acre property in the proposed contract is at 4000 North U.S. 421 near Century Tube.

The commissioners explained to the council that the county had a clause in the agreement that would allow them to pull out of the sale for any reason and get a full refund anytime before the 75 days ended.

The commissioners voted unanimously during the joint meeting to accept the contract. The council voted 4-1 to table the decision after expressing concerns about other potential site locations that they felt needed to be considered. Councilmembers Joe Craig and Heather Foy were not present at the time of the vote; Councilman and Jail Committee Member Ray Denning was the minority vote.

One specific site the council members said they wanted to look at is a shovel-ready 62-acre property owned by the City of Madison at 778 West Hutchinson Lane. The council members said they wanted to talk to the city about purchasing part of the land.

Council members also expressed concerns to the commissioners that the site they had just been presented was at the front of a major gateway into Madison.

Craig said he felt that the community had not yet been given the opportunity to provide input and understanding. He also said the feasibility study produced for the county by RQAW, the firm hired to produce the study for a new jail, should be put on the county website so residents can read the study and learn what the county’s needs are when it comes to the new jail. The needs include the number of beds, staffing and estimated operations budget.

Commissioner David Bramer reminded the council that the Exploratory Jail Committee meetings have all been open to the public to attend and advertised as such.

The council and commission also briefly discussed options on where the $50,000 could come from in the county’s budget.

After the joint meeting, the commissioners hired Jack Krouse as an owner’s representative for the jail project. Krouse is the president of Construction Control Inc. The commissioners approved his contract for $150 per hour on an as-needed basis, contingent on final legal approval.

Bramer, who is also a member of the jail committee, explained that the jail committee recommended hiring an owner’s representative to help guide the process as an expert source to ensure the county is following state codes and to provide guidance when the county requires it.

The commission and council will meet jointly on Thursday, Jan. 31 at 5:30 p.m. at Jefferson County Courthouse.