Jail issues nothing new

Published: Thursday, August 22, 2013 at 09:27 AM.

“What’s the point of having someone supervising something and you don’t listen to them?” Commissioner Tan Smiley recently asked.

However, Commissioner Joanna Bryan has argued the jail carries plenty of liability – the level unknown due to the lack of recent inspections – and in a time when her fellow commissioners are examining a host of budget options, from cuts to new taxes, Bryan wonders if the jail’s $1.2 million budget isn’t worth a long look.

Bryan’s proposals have met a united opposition not seen directed at a single commissioner since a previous board ousted former commissioner Nathan Peters, Jr. as chair in a false step toward county-wide voting.

She raised the issue first during budget discussions and when she brought the jail to the floor at the last meeting, the response from commissioners ranged from chilly to acrimonious.

With the board looking at some $2 million in cuts from department budget requests while considering a 5-cent a gallon gas tax, an additional penny in bed tax and increases to tipping and beach driving fees, Bryan wondered if the savings realized by sending female inmates to be housed in Bay County couldn’t translate for the male population.

“What if we farm out the male population?” Bryan said.

Based on numbers provided by county staff, Bryan contended there was savings of nearly half a million dollars.

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