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Clarification on recent Essex County jail articles

When applied to the 13,870 days that boarder inmates spent in Essex County in 2011, the additional costs for boarders amounted to slightly less than $110,000. In return, we were able to bring in revenue of $1.323 million dollars. Our officers have taken on this additional work load without any additional compensation and are doing an impressive and professional job as well. We also have a stake in this as we are residents and taxpayers too.

Naturally, this does not include the staffing, bond or utilities as that was not my intent. Consider the costs of your local hotel/motel. Regardless of whether there are 5 rooms rented or 100 rooms rented, you still need to pay a mortgage, a desk clerk, an accountant, cleaning staff, maintenance people, etc. With more rooms rented the costs for laundry and cleaning increase but nowhere near the revenue from room rentals. With increased revenue, the net costs then decrease. My net budget for 2011 is less than 2007 when we were boarding out inmates and very close to 2008 net.

My intent was to answer the oft repeated question as to whether the boarders were “worth it”. Moving from an unsafe 19th century jail to a modern facility was necessary. Now we are doing the best we can for the county with our resources.Without boarders, my annual budget would be reduced by that $110,000 but in return, we would not be bringing in that $1.3 million to ease the tax burden on the citizens of Essex County either.

I was elected by you, the people of Essex County to provide a fiscally responsible level of service, both in public safety and in incarcerating those ordered here by the courts. With 35 years of experience with the Sheriff’s Office, rising from Deputy Sheriff through the ranks to Sheriff, I have experience in the operations and budgeting of this agency. I believe I have done my best to both provide public safety services to the people of the county and to run the correctional facility in the manner that will be the least burden on the taxpayer as well.

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