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December 29, 2004

Itís never easy to ask taxpayers for a little more money

I see where our county commissioners are trying to decide how to go about submitting a new proposal for replacing the aging Noble county jail that now sits atop the courthouse. Good luck to them. It's never easy to ask taxpayers for a little more money in order to comply with the demands of higher officials. But that's the only possible way the funds can be raised. You could hold bazaars and cake sales all year long and still wind up with insufficient funds for a new jail.

Those same officials do not have to pay the bills for prisoners who deliberately damage the facilities designed to hold them when they break the law, and those same higher officials do not have to pay the bills for transporting prisoners to other locations when we cannot meet all the requirements proclaimed by higher authority. In other words, they do not have to face angry voters. I'm all in favor of providing the basic needs of lawbreakers, but meeting that goal is not always possible in times of tight money.

There's no denying the new facility is needed. There are more criminals to incarcerate because we have certain high moral standards that demand attention. Many warrants cannot now be served because there is just no place to hold the perpetrators while they await judgment. The drug scene in Noble county is bleak, as it is everywhere, and we have to do something with the criminals who cross the line. So we are being told by a higher authority that better and safer facilities must be provided locally, or our prisoners will be moved elsewhere with you-know-who paying the bills.

Our county jail on top of the courthouse was built when no one could envision the problems now being dealt with. The courthouse itself was not easy to build. Noble county did not have a bundle of money to build such a facility. If it's any consolation to our present commissioners, funds for the courthouse were hard to come by. It took more than one election to gain voter approval, but we finally got a winner. Perhaps that will come in this instance when the present commissioners submit a new proposal. We cannot afford to put off a "yes" vote, by the proper majority.