LETTERS TO THE EDITOR | Where some cash may be found
July 24, 2012 · Updated 2:23 PM
To the editor:
Regarding the recent article in the South Whidbey Record, “Law and justice levy finds support is waning,” and other articles discussing how the “underfunded” law and justice departments in Island County can obtain additional funding to support their departments, I would suggest that all parties involved look closely at the existing budget, specifically the juvenile detention program and building. I believe the answer could be found there.
For years I served on the Law and Justice Committee in my role as County Human Services Administrator for Island County. During the time I served, the decision was made to build our own Juvenile Detention Center, One decision I believe was ill-conceived, and one which has cost the taxpayers a bundle of money.
I believed at the time, and so did the state Law and Justice Committee, that Island County youth could be adequately served in an adjoining county’s detention center, and that Island County could not afford this center in the long run.
With apologies to my friends in the law and justice departments, I would suggest that the county commissioners and the staff make available statistics on what it costs to run the juvenile detention center, what the average occupancy is, and the cost to the taxpayers for every juvenile detained. I believe the numbers will show that we could serve our juveniles who need detaining much less expensively by coming up with creative solutions and sending them to other counties rather than continuing to pay for bricks and mortar and 24/7 staffing. The money saved could then be used to supplement other departments in the law and justice arena.