Sheriff Brown contends that grants from the state are “free money.” The $120 million for the new jail comes from the taxpayers of this state, which includes county residents. And gosh darn, we can’t just say no to “free money,” even if we don’t have the funds to operate it, can we?
Speaking of operating costs, the supervisors have enough doubt in the sheriff’s “assumptions” that they’re hiring a consultant to check those numbers. Hopefully the county CEO will choose a consultant that in no way benefits from this project and is completely independent, unlike consultants in the past.
The county paid Rosser International to do a study on whether we needed a new jail. Although the data was flawed, it backed up those who have wanted to build a new jail for 20 years. And guess who gets a $5.4 million contract to do the architectural design on the new jail? Yes, that would be Rosser. Go to sbjailfacts.info for more information.
Currently our jail population is 872 people, and 77 percent of them are pretrial. Isn’t there an alternative to housing some of these people? The sheriff and the supervisors now admit there is not an overcrowding problem at the jail. Now the sheriff’s mantra is “the jail is bad.” What has he done in nine years to make it better?
It is time to tell your supervisors it will be them, not the sheriff, who will be held responsible for the unmanageable operating cost of this new jail. They are giving the go-ahead, they are signing their names to this capital project, not the sheriff. They will have to fund his new jail, even if it means fewer deputies on the streets, less repairs and maintenance to our roads, and who knows what other cuts.