I decided to attend the Bourbon County Fiscal Court meeting this past Thursday night 2/11/2010. They were going to have a Second Reading of the Regional Jail Ordinance. The Regional Jail concept has Bourbon County entering into an agreement with neighboring Nicholas County. There was a lot of interest and the court room was full.
I wanted to hear both sides on this issue because I pay taxes in Bourbon County too. The jail and it’s problems seems to make the news more often than not. Several people signed the public comment sheet to speak including myself.
One of the biggest concern to Bourbon County tax payers should be that Nicholas County will have two voting members on a regional board that will hire an administer to run the jail instead of the elected jailer.
To me this is a problem because the jail will still be funded 100% by Bourbon County Tax Dollars yet Nicholas County has a vote on how Bourbon County taxes are spent?? I have a huge problem with that. If Nicholas County is going to have a say, bring some Nicholas County tax dollars to the bargaining table.
Another problem with this idea is that no one really knows the cost on this, they only think it will be better. To me the Bourbon Fiscal court members should have asked for an independent study and get the facts on regional versus local county jails.
When questioned at this meeting fiscal court members agreed they needed more information but went ahead and voted 6-2 in favor of the regional jail. Magistrates Overly, Hay, Foley, Dawson, Offutt, and Smoot voted in favor of the ordinance. Magistrate McCarty and Judge Foley voted no.
I will say that Judge Foley ask all the magistrates before they voted, did they want to postpone the vote until they could provide the public with more information. They declined, went ahead and voted . After the vote Judge Foley said they would be working up an agreement with Nicholas County within the next 30 to 60 days. Judge Foley indicated the agreement would be shared with the public. He also said the regional jail would start at the beginning of 2011.
I was told that now it takes about $ 1,000,000.00 of our tax dollars a year to run the jail. The worst part of all this is, both sides agree running a jail whether it is local or regional loses tax payer dollars. Tax payers of Paris/Bourbon County our Fiscal Court Magistrates owe it to all of us to provide information showing were our tax dollars are going. Again, I urge more of you to speak up, the era of fiscal responsibility is here.
Until next time,