Local politics, the county, and the world, as viewed by Tammy Maygra
Tammy's views are her own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bill Eagle, his pastor, Tammy's neighbors, Earl Fisher, Betsy Johnson, Joe Corsiglia, President Obama, Tony Hyde, Pat Robertson, Debi Corsiglia's dog, or Claudia Eagle's Cats. This Tammy's Take (with the exception of this disclaimer) is not paid for or written by, or reviewed by anyone but Tammy and she refuses to be bullied by anyone.

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                                                       NOT THIS TIME

The original levy to construct a jail in 1998 was presented to the voters by promising the voters the "new" jail would be self-supporting with the housing of federal prisoner's. That is why there was not an operating levy included at the same time. Commissioner Tony Hyde made it perfectly clear that there would be NO taxpayer dollars needed to fund the jail. The voters took the bait and Columbia County had their new state of the art jail with 250 beds. The jail construction was initially $13.8 million but ended up costing $29 million. A bill we are still paying on.

What the commissioners and the sheriff's department failed to tell the voters was that from the beginning the jail was operating at a loss and was shored up from the county's general fund. Columbia County rented out federal beds at much lower rates than actual cost and below bed rental rates in Washington and Multnomah counties. The federal marshals used Columbia County as their over flow housing. There was never any guarantee that there would be enough federal prisoners' to make the jail self-sustaining and all involved knew this.

Many years ago Commissioner Hyde made a special agreement with the cities throughout Columbia County to house city inmates for free another unwise decision.

On the average it costs $94 per day to house inmates and the federal government only pays Columbia County $78 per day at a net loss of $16 per day per federal prisoner. While this may not seem much it adds up to nearly $1 million in deficient revenue and must be accounted for and is, by additional funds coming from you the taxpayers.

No matter how the county commissioners or the sheriff spins their accounting, a deficient is a deficient. Business 101 states it is not wise to have more money going out for expenditures than what a business is taking in, this practice will surely result in the business failing. And that is what was destined for the state of the art jail in Columbia County from the beginning failure.

I have no problem paying for Columbia County inmates which the jail currently sets aside approximately 25 beds for local law breakers. But I do have a problem paying for unwise endeavors and grand visions by elected officials in Columbia County.

If the levy passes the taxpayers will be paying out $9.5 million in the next four years to support the huge albatross that was hung around the necks of the unsuspecting taxpayers. After 4 years? You can count on another operating levy or an attempt to form a special district for the sheriff's department and jail? You can bet it will be at least $1.00 per thousand, can you afford that? Not many people can. 

Remember the last special district formed (hospital district) that was nothing but a swindle on the taxpayers. I will not be supporting the jail levy. Fool me once shame on you, Fool me twice shame on me.


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