Justice center may increase taxes

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 19, 1999

County Administrator Charlie Brown says operational expenses for the juvenile justice complex under construction will likely mean a tax increase for Adams County residents..

&uot;It’s not a pretty picture,&uot; he said. &uot;It will affect taxes.&uot;

As the county prepares to finalize a $3.9 million loan, two-thirds of which will go to pay for the construction of the juvenile center, Brown and others are beginning to address how the county will fund the daily operation of the facility.

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&uot;It’s going to raise taxes,&uot; said Supervisor Darryl Grennell. &uot;The cost is going to kill us.&uot;

Estimates originally given to the board of supervisors in 1994 showed operational expenses for the juvenile center would be around $316,000, Grennell said.

Grennell said he discussed the Juvenile Justice Center project with the late Maxie Wallace.

&uot;Maxie said if the price goes up any more than $2.5 million, he couldn’t support it anymore,&uot; Grennell said.

The county is striving to offset as much of the expense as possible, Brown said.

&uot;The city has agreed to pay about $50,000 toward the operation of the facility,&uot; he said.

Brown added that the county made an agreement years ago with two other counties to pay ten percent of operational expenses in exchange for use of cells in the new facility.

&uot;I just hope they will still honor that agreement,&uot; Brown said adding that the county is also hopeful that spaces in the facility can be rented, generating more revenue.

Natchez Mayor Larry L. &uot;Butch&uot; Brown said about five years ago, the city agreed to provide two officers for the center.

&uot;Since that time, we agreed to quantify that offer to the money that those officers represented – about $25,000 each,&uot; Mayor Brown said, bringing the city’s annual contribution to the center’s operation to $50,000. The mayor said that the matter would likely have to go before the board of aldermen again to be ratified.

&uot;The only other savings I can think of is the rent we’ll save from the current Youth Court lease,&uot; Grennell said.

&uot;Another problem with the facility is with law enforcement,&uot; Grennell said. &uot;Who’s going to manage it?&uot;

The Adams County Board of Supervisors has not directly addressed the management of the new Juvenile Justice Center, but is likely to begin that discussion after the Nov. 2 elections, said Virginia Salmon, president of the Adams County Board of Supervisors.

Salmon added that despite the many obstacles to overcome in building and operating the facility, Adams County has fared better than other counties in having a facility come so close to original cost estimates.

&uot;The Juvenile Justice Facility will serve our purposes for some time to come,&uot; Salmon said.