By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer
At the February 10th Greene County Board of Supervisor’s meeting Supervisor Davis Lamb (Ruckersville District) reported that the current version of the Central Virginia Regional Jail budget for Greene County has now been reduced by $500,000, from the $800,000 that Jail Superintendent Floyd Aylor reported at the last Board of Supervisor meeting on January 27th to $300,000.
Lamb further reported that the representatives of the five counties that share the facility will be meeting Thursday evening to discuss the budget further and hopefully adopt a final budget.
County Administrator John Barkley reported that the $300,000 is still an increase for Greene County of 26%. He also reported that the staffing of the expansion will be gradually increased and however, the number of Federal prisoners at the jail (and the revenue these prisoners produce) is projected to decline. In addition, there has been a committee formed to identify additional cuts and he was hopeful that these savings would be considered by Aylor on Thursday night.
Supervisor Jim Frydl (Midway District) expressed his frustration with the whole process. He asked when the jail addition is projected to be opened? Mr. Barkley believes the date is in flux and has gone from February/April, 2016 to the fall of 2016 – into the following fiscal year. He also understands that the staffing in the jail is already short 10 positions that are in the current budget. So he questioned if next year’s budget includes filling the 10 positions plus new increases? Why is there an increase in personnel cost with no increase in prisoners since the new jail would not be open until the next fiscal year or at best for only a few months?
The other issue is that evidently Aylor’s initial projection was a “fully loaded” budget with full staffing and operating costs. Supervisor Bill Martin (Stanardsville) expressed his feeling from Aylor’s comments that he feels like the county is working for Aylor instead of the reverse. He also stressed to Lamb that the late approval of the jail budget has to be completed earlier next year so that the county has the proper time to prepare its own budget.
Supervisor Eddie Deane (At-Large) came back to the illogic of the jail addition not opening until the following fiscal year but there are increased costs in next year’s budget. Frydl suggested that the Board of Supervisors prepare questions for Lamb to ask at the jail’s meeting this Thursday evening.
Frydl verbalized a number of the questions he hoped Lamb would ask – “if a fund is underspent then the excess is to be credited to the following year?”. He understands that Aylor has refused to rollover any remaining account balances which would reduce the next year’s budget. He would like a specific answer to this issue.
Frydl continued to press his list of questions, “Is the number of federal prisoners to be reduced?”.
Chairman David Cox (Monroe District) suggested that the Board of Supervisors members submit their questions to Barkley and he gather them and provide them to Lamb to take to the jail meeting Thursday evening. Lamb agreed to take the questions to the meeting and bring back the answers to the next Board of Supervisor meeting on February 24th. Barkley cautioned the Board not to expect a lot of detail from Aylor at Thursday’s meeting given his track record.
The Free Enterprise Forum is concerned that the leadership at the Central Virginia Jail is not being responsive to the member localities that fund the operation. Again, who is working for whom?
While the “pushing out” of cost increases into future budget periods makes for a lower budget in the next fiscal year, it doesn’t mean that when the new jail space is full that the original cost estimates won’t be attained.
To date, no mention has been made of any incremental state or federal funding to help offset the cost increase. Hopefully these sources of revenue can be pursued, albeit small for the next budget year, so that they can be in place in future budgets as the costs ramp up.
The Free Enterprise Forum’s coverage of Greene County is provided by a grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® and by the support of readers like you.
Brent Wilson is the Greene County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization.
Photo Credits: Greene County, Daily Progress