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Budget hearings: Administrators say prison work camp needs big fixes

POSTED: April 28, 2008 5:00 a.m.
ROBIN MICHENER NATHAN/The Times

Paint on the outside of the Hall County Correctional Institute is peeling.

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The warden of Hall County’s Correctional Institution spent much of Wednesday morning justifying his request for more than $3 million at the third round of county budget hearings.

But Warden Avery Niles said Hall County really needs an entirely new institution to replace the crumbling 45-year-old prison work camp.

County Administrator Jim Shuler agreed.

Niles said the facility has operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week since 1963. He said the nonstop use equates to 3« times as much wear and tear on the correctional institution than on typical county buildings.

Until the county commission grants appropriations for a new building to house state prisoners, Niles said he is asking for 2009 fiscal year funds to fix the institution’s leaky roof and faulty fire alarm. He’s also requesting county funds for new mattresses, beds, a heating and air conditioning system and window replacements.

Shuler said pending commission approval, a new facility could be financed with the next sales tax fund.

He added that it’s worth investing in a new building for 240 state prisoners whose labor is projected to save the county $4,631,861 in the upcoming year.

Correctional institution

  • How it gets money: state reimburses institution $20 per day for lodging each state prisoner, remainder from Hall County’s general fund
  • What it wants: The facility asked for $3,378,092 — $329,974 more than it received for this year’s budget.
  • Why it’s needed: The institution wants a new fire alarm system, and to fix roof leaks and replace old mattresses, bunks and windows. The facility also wants new officer uniforms, a new $300,000 heating and air conditioning system and a nearly $200,000 surveillance system.

Administration

  • How it gets money: Hall County’s general fund
  • What it wants: The division requested $1,039,444 — which is actually $6,121 less than administrators received for this year’s budget.
  • Why it’s down: The department removed a deputy clerk position.

Parks and Leisure Services

  • How it gets money: Hall County’s general fund, supplemented by youth sports and recreation fees.
  • What it wants: The department asked for $2,909,081 — $239,361 more than it received for this year’s budget.
  • Why it’s needed: The department wants to hire a part-time secretary to assist park staff with law enforcement efforts and to organize athletic tournaments. Parks services also wants $80,000 to construct a children’s playground at East Hall Park, and about $180,000 to make park improvements and replace two agency vehicles.

General services

  • How it gets money: Hall County’s general fund.
  • What it wants: The department asked for $5,448,090 — $1,343,724 more than it received for this year’s budget.
  • Why it’s needed: To pay for drug court building rental fees, planning for the Frances Meadows Community Center and a new State Patrol post on Ga. 129.

Retirement, insurance and benefits

  • How it gets money: Hall County’s general fund.
  • What it wants: The department wants $8,161,687 — $672,803 more than it received for this year’s budget.
  • Why it’s needed: To fund workers’ compensation claims, retirement and increased health insurance costs.


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