Letter to the Editor: In opposition to the proposed location of the new jail

Letter to the Editor

I oppose the jail being placed on Church Street and 1000 feet away at the end of Landers Street. I’m in favor of the jail being rebuilt in an industrial area.

Our City Council has also presented a resolution that opposes any residential neighborhood. The land surrounding Church Street or Baker Street is zoned R1. 

I specifically want to talk about the fiscal irresponsibility of our County Commission. 

The Walton Tribune wrote on Jul 27, 2020 – David Thompson incoming chairman rips tax rate, budget. Thompson says county should have taken rollback rate. The next chairman of the Walton County Board of Commissioners made clear he doesn’t like the way the current commissioners are spending public dollars.

Move forward 1 year. The tag line could read the public is making it clear we don’t like the way Chairman Thompson is spending our dollars. 

Why are you in such a hurry? You do not have the hundred million dollars to build the jail. Starting with only a fifth of the $128 million estimated to build does not give our county confidence in your ability to lead or manage. Where are you going to get this money? Jails are not in the infrastructure package. Calling a jail addition a mental health facility does not make it eligible for these funds. The county is going to be forced to pass the burden onto the backs of the taxpayers. A general bond is still on the back of the taxpayers. A jail is not eligible as a revenue bond.  

On one hand we are told this courthouse site will save us $20,000 a year in transportation costs, but you drop $17,500 monthly to Rich Gold a lobbyist lawyer in Washington DC.

The Chairman has said the county is buying the land that Reliant owns because it is such a good deal. This is false economy. It seems like a good deal but it is a waste of taxpayers money. Is the county in the business of speculation now? We as citizens expect better of our commissioners.

Your secrecy and avoidance of the hard questions makes it appear you have something to hide. So every time we find a contract with a lobbyist or with a contractor the public thinks you are doing something underhanded. 

Slow down, be truthful, get citizen input, choose an industrial location and we will support a new, safer jail.

Rita Dickinson

Walton County

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