Brown County Commissioners quickly reinstated a ban on outdoor burning Monday morning before moving on to other agenda items that included potential improvements at the Brown County Jail.
    Commissioners cited a large grass fire Saturday afternoon near the Indian Creek community as a factor in their decision. The fire, which burned about 200 acres, started from someone burning trash or brush, Precinct 1 commissioner Gary Worley said.
    “It’s to the point now to where all of the  grass has been growing for two to three months and is up about knee high or waist high or head high in places,” Worley said. “It’s drying out really quick, and very little chance of rain in the next 30 days.”
    In other business Monday, Sheriff Vance Hill told commissioners about several improvements he hopes to see at the Brown County Jail. Representatives of Southwest Architects are getting cost numbers together, Hill said.
    Improvements needed include:
    • Creating more filing space. That could be done by either adding a second story above the sally port or by converting existing office space in the jail into space for rolling files.
    • Adding acoustic sound panels in the jail’s corridors to cut down on the echo of voice and “improve the working environment where you can hear what’s going on,” Hill told commissioners.
    There is a “constant rumble” that makes it difficult to obtain clear audio recordings of incidents including inmate disturbances and fights, Hill said. Jurors who are presented with audio evidence in criminal or civil trials expect high quality audio, he said.
    Hill said he would want to have panels first installed in the booking area, where disturbances are mostly like to occur, and have panels eventually installed throughout the corridors.
    • Installing cement walls around inmate shower stalls to prevent water from the showers from getting onto the cell floors, which has caused falls among inmates and correctional officers.
    • Installing video protectors over televisions in cells to prevent inmates from tampering with them. The jail is required by state jail standards to provide televisions, and the sheriff’s office has to buy for or five televisions each month to replace ones that are damaged, Hill said.
    • Installing a video system that would allow inmates and visitors to communicate without the inmates having to be moved from their cells to the visitation area. Disturbances are most likely to occur when inmates are being moved, Hill said.
    That’s the most expensive item on the list of improvements Hill described, and with a possible cost of about $300,000, Hill said it’s on his “bucket list.”    Also Monday, commissioners:
    • Approved Hill’s request to hire a part-time maintenance person to lawn care outside the jail. The number of outdoor jail trustees has dwindled, Hill said, and every seven to 10 days, it’s necessary to pull trustees off road crews to service the outside of the jail.
    • Agreed to pay $1,500 to Grider Enterprises to stripe the parking lot and install parking blocks at the Brown County Annex building. Grader submitted the only bid, commissioners were told.