May 8, 2013 —
I would ask that the passage of ordinance 751 be postponed until we attempt alternative options to reduce our inmate population at CCDC. I have asked on several occasions for a cooperative meeting between the fiscal court, myself, and the judicial judges of Carter County to explore cost effective ways to reduce county population but have been refused to this point.
This Ordinance 751 is a financially “reckless” decision being made by the fiscal court that will lead to the largest financial deficit the jail has ever seen since its construction.
Conservatively, this ordinance would cost the county $1.1 million dollars per year. I cannot overstate the obvious distress this would place on the county financially.
This ordinance comes at a very peculiar time since it appears that the Carter County Detention Center has finally reached profitability. This is something I hoped could be accomplished at least as early as the first year or two of a second term if I was fortunate enough to be re-elected and progress continued.
We have been absolutely blessed as a county to reach profitability in the first 27 months of this term. I would ask that the fiscal court be seriously cautioned as to making such a rash decision placing our jail in a situation that assures it to be a financial burden on the county for years to come.
During the first reading it was said this ordinance has been drafted to reduce the likelihood of litigation for the county. I understand that line of reasoning but have some trouble with that argument, due to the many conditions that exist presenting possible litigation that I have addressed with this court over the last 27 months. Those items are the unapproved policies and procedures at CCDC presented to the fiscal court, the upgrading of transport vans that have been used past their prime, as well as the Dept. of Corrections staffing analysis that show the CCDC to need more full-time staff. So you can see if it at least appears hypocritical that this is the issue you choose to address just as the jail is becoming financially independent. This ordinance will push the jail back into financial dependency of the county and its taxpayers. It will cause the general fund to be drained and quite possibly taxes to be raised.
There are several realistic, cost effective ways to reduce the jails population without causing such a financial strain on the county.
These ideas have been presented to Judge Wallace and the fiscal court by myself and others only to be disregarded and ignored.
May 8, 2013 —
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