Fate of jail levy?

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 17, 2015

After Thursday’s town hall-style meeting between county and state representatives one thing is definitely clear — whether the jail is relocated to the former juvenile detention facility in Franklin Furnace or the county backs out of the deal, Lawrence County will pay for one of the two.

State department of corrections director Gary Mohr said as much when he commented publicly that the 15-year lease was signed and defaulting on it would mean legal action. There is no question the state will enforce the jail’s 27-inmate census.

Both sheriff Jeff Lawless and representatives from the county auditor’s office have said, and repeated on Thursday, there is not enough money in the county’s budget to fund or sustain the move to the detention center.

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Hoping for answers, those in attendance heard the only glimmer of hope to raise funds for the jail project, and that came from commission president Les Boggs — a levy on November’s ballot.

No levy can go on the ballot without the approval of two of the three county commissioners, so we’ll see who approves the measure and who is opposed.

If approved, should the citizens vote for such a levy? Certainly there is a mindset that county residents are already overtaxed. And the lack of resources for the move, or a new facility entirely, is no fault of the citizens, but rather those who have been at the helm of the county for the past few decades and ignored the problems of the aging jail.

Now here we stand, with no money to move the jail and no money not to move the jail. So, how would you vote on Election Day if a levy was placed on the ballot?

Send your letter to the editor to letters@irontontribune.com and weigh in on the topic.