We the County Commission have opted not to respond to SpeakOut articles because anyone that has feelings such as expressed in this call should meet with us or sign their statements. If we respond to every SpeakOut criticism or rumor, it would consume all our time and not allow us to do the job we were elected to do. The caller made so many false statements in his Nov. 10 SpeakOut article, however, we feel we needed to set the record straight.
The caller completely distorted the facts and here is our reply to the uninformed caller.
False statement No. 1: If the law enforcement sales tax did not pass on the third try for a new jail, the County Commissioners would raise the property tax and force the people to pay for it.
Response: The County Commission would not, and could not, raise the property tax and make the people pay for the new jail. That would be a decision made by a federal judge, and that is what we said.
False statement No. 2: Your statement about it costing the county more to keep the prisoners in our own new jail rather than paying some other county to keep our prisoners.
Response: The statement that we made, "It sounds like it will cost more to run the new jail than it costs to board the prisoners out of the county" was in response to Sheriff Ferrell, after he presented documents showing the staff that he thought would be required for the new jail.
The County Commission has maintained that with the new modern jail, Scott County should be able to keep our own prisoners cheaper than hire someone else to do it. It was Sheriff Bill Ferrell who said, "... it wasn't about what's cheaper." Being cheaper on the county taxpayers was one of the main reasons that the County Commission worked to get a new jail built, and we will do what the law allows to get this done. The sheriff in each county is in charge of the county prisoners.
False statement No. 3: The commissioners gave themselves an $8,000 per year raise.
Response: The County Commission cannot give itself a raise. The state legislature sets the salary for the county office holders and then all officeholders together vote whether to accept it. State Statute 49.082 set the salary of the County Commission in 1997.
False statement No. 4: The commissioners raised the mileage charge paid by the county.
Response: The Commission raised the mileage to 33.5 cents per mile for county office holders and staff in July 2002 which equals the state reimbursement. Sheriff Bill Ferrell raised his mileage rate for the law enforcement to 36.5 cents per mile on the $50,000 fund that he has control of.
You were right when you stated that Scott County did not have any money to waste. The Commission does their best to spend the county's tax dollars wisely.
If any one person feels so strongly on any issue involving the county business, we ask you to address the issue with us, the commission, personally. We welcome your letter, phone call or your presence at our weekly meetings. They are held every Tuesday and Thursday at the (Scott County) Courthouse in Benton, beginning at 9 a.m.
We just ask that in the future, if you feel the need to express your opinion, try to get the facts before making false accusations.
Martin Priggel, presiding commissioner
Walter Bizzell, 1st District commissioner
Jamie Burger, 2nd District commissioner
Scott County Commission