Letter to the Editor

Jail permit facts

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Dear editor:

In the March 5, paper I was attacked for my opinions concerning the Nevada City Councils ability to impede construction on the new jail because of their exorbitant and unexplained demand of $24,782 for a building permit. I would like to further explain my position with more facts.

1. While I, Janie Claflin, am not a resident of Nevada, neither am I a resident of Sheldon. I am a farmer, and live in Drywood township, Vernon County. I own property in Nevada -- I paid 2007 taxes to the city of Nevada of $ 1,352.94, a $60.64 increase over 2006. I also pay city sales tax on what I buy from Nevada merchants. Therefore; I feel I am entitled to my opinion concerning the nefarious activities of the Nevada City Council, especially when their insatiable greed interferes with progress and much needed public projects.

2. Of those who are so proud of your Nevada city leaders for not giving up $24,782. I must inquire, were you proud of your leaders two years ago when far more than $24,782 disappeared from the city finances, was never explained, or paid back and by the dark of night, the city manager disappeared. Maybe $24,782 for a building fee will make up part of that loss. There is one minor problem, You ain't got it yet. Actually, the County of Vemon is a higher governmental authority than the city of Nevada. How infantile of Nevada to demand a building fee of $24,782 from the authority that has been processing Nevada City prisoners in Vernon County courts and housing Nevada City prisoners in the Vernon County jail for eternity, without any reimbursement from the city for these services. Nevada wants a fee, they should pay for the services they receive from the county.

It is to the benefit of both county and city that the Nevada Police Department and the Vernon County Sheriff's Office maintain the amicable working relationship that has proved so beneficial in deterring crime. Why the City wants to damage Vernon County law enforcement by demanding $24,782 for a building permit is unbelievable

3. Sheldon is no more a ghost town than Schell City, Walker, Bronaugh, Richards, Deerfield, Milo, Harwood, Metz, Moundville, Montevallo, Bellamy, Dederick or Hume. The demise of our small towns can all be attributed to the world's largest retailer. And, who in Vernon County is the recipient of this windfall of tax revenue from the only place left to shop? The city of Nevada receives all of the city tax receipts from Nevada retailers, even the taxes paid by us Redneck rural Vernon County people when we buy in Nevada. So you might say that all of these residents of these ghost towns that need attention, are paying their fair share to the support of the city of Nevada. Tax money that once went for the support of our small towns is now claimed by Nevada. The new jail will bring more jobs and only add to the city coffers.

4. Yes, I very much realize where the money comes from for the new jail and the BIG raises for employees. There are 11,654 active registered voters in Vernon County. The city of Nevada has 4,061 active registered voters. Rural Vernon County has 7,593 active registered voters.

The deteriorating and inhumane conditions of the existing jail would make any would be terrorist welcome a transfer to Guantanamo Bay. How Vernon County has escaped the regulations, fines, and penalties of government inspections and the scrutiny of the ACLU (American Criminal Liberties Union) is a mystery.

April 3, 2007, 3,928 of these voters realized the need for a jail and passed a countywide sales tax of 1/2-cent by a whopping 70 percent margin (2,740 Yes to 1,147 No) to construct a new jail and pay salary increases to law enforcement personnel. This 1/2-cent sales tax will revert to 1/4-cent for maintenance, when the new jail is paid for or in 20 years whichever is sooner.

Mrs. Billie Curtis generously gave very valuable land to the county for the jail site, saving a huge expenditure for a location. Every expense has been slashed.

Only the bare necessities needed for providing clean, safe and humane confinement for inmates and decent working conditions for law enforcement personnel are planned for. That is why the pompous unreasonable and unexplained demand of the City Council for a $24,782 building permit is such an affront to the voters of Vernon County. How did the city council arrive at this figure? Who are they going to have inspect the construction, the crew that spends their 40 hours a week measuring the height of grass in lawns? $24.782 is more than the salary of deputies who face danger or death daily. Our sheriff is to be commended for achieving excellent county wide law enforcement with such minor-resources. I cannot say that for the Nevada City Council.


Janie Claflin