Many reasons to vote ‘yes’ May 7

[Source: “Many reasons to vote ‘yes’ May 7,” 17 May 2013, Press Citizen, by John Balmer]

There are many reasons why citizens need to vote “yes” on May 7 for a new Johnson County justice center. One of the most significant is how much it’s costing taxpayers not to act. Every day we wait to build a new justice center is another $2,700 of our money that flows out of the county.

The dramatic state of overcrowding in the Johnson County Jail requires us to pay other counties more than $1 million dollars per year to house the overflow of inmates. There is no room to expand the current facility, which means this problem will only continue to become more expensive and wasteful as our community grows.

Building a new justice center that includes both the jail and courthouse also will eliminate the need for transportation of inmates to and from their appointed court dates. There are much better uses for taxpayer money than paying sheriff’s deputies for the dozens of hours they spend escorting inmates to court as well as handling the logistics of transportation to other jails that have the space to house them.

The new justice center also reduces the inherent safety and liability risk of transporting inmates outside of a secure facility. Wouldn’t we rather our deputies be using their time to protect our public than being chauffeurs?

I, for one, would rather invest my tax dollars in a safe, secure and cost-effective justice center than continue to throw it away outside my community.

I plan to vote “yes” for the justice center on May 7.

John Balmer

Iowa City

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Categories: Commentary, Endorsement


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