I understand that Shiawassee County needs a new jail. I get it; it’s old, leaky and unsafe. What I do not get, however, is the cost of the new jail and what I consider to be extravagant spending that this county does not need, nor can its citizens afford. Local jails are not meant to be long-term holding/treatment facilities. While I agree that we need better programs and an improved jail, I do not agree that we need to go to the extent that Sheriff BeGole says we must.
We don’t need a mansion when a nice little ranch will do. We don’t need the best jail in the state; we need something secure and satisfactory, and I resent the fact that it is being shoved down our throats by the media and with tours of the jail to see just how “terrible” the conditions are for our inmates. I’m sorry, they are inmates. They did wrong and I am financially responsible for their errors in judgment?
I urge our residents to vote no on the new jail proposal and send them back to the drawing board to come up with something less costly and more efficient. This does not need to be a snap decision. They submitted their “dream jail” proposal. It’s okay to say no and send them back to rework their figures and try again. Put it back on the ballot in the fall or even early next year. I am not opposed to a better or safer jail; however, I am on a fixed income, close to retirement and I simply cannot afford this kind of increase on my taxes (which continue to go up each and every year anyways), and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I’ve lived in Shiawassee County for over 25 years now, and I don’t want to have to sell my home and move. However, if I can’t pay my bills, I will have no choice.
Kathleen S. Briggeman, Owosso