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Hall to vote on in-house probation office startup
Move could save taxpayers $96,000
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The Hall County Board of Commissioners is expected to vote during its scheduled meeting Thursday on whether to establish an in-house misdemeanor probation office and relocate the county’s treatment services,

If approved, the Hall County Probation Services Office would handle all probation and supervisory jurisdiction of misdemeanor offenses. Currently, those services are handled by a contractor.

The changes will allow for closer supervision of probationers by officers with arresting authority, quicker induction into treatment programs, and ultimately a lower jail population.

"We have an advanced court system, and it’s time that we advanced our probation services to equal the remainder of the organization," Court Administrator Reggie Forrester said.

The county would also begin renovations on a county-owned building on Browns Bridge Road, formerly occupied by Avita, to house the Probation Services and Treatment Services. Those services are currently housed in a rented building on Main Street in Gainesville.

Currently, the Misdemeanor Probation office is located in a privately-owned building off Browns Bridge Road.

"The contract is actually between the State Court of Hall County and the contractor. It’s not between the county and the contractor," Forrester said. "That contract does not require any county funding. It’s funded through probation service fees that go directly to the contractor."

The county has five treatment courts including drug, DUI, mental health, family treatment and parental accountability.

This will make Hall County one of the only judicial districts in the Southeast to have a one-stop shop for treatments services for courts, Forrester said.

Forrester said he expects renovations to be completed by March.

The plan is part of an effort to move departments into county-owned facilities to save money.

Forrester said moving into the county-owned building would mean taxpayers would save about $96,000 in rent payments each year. Special purpose local option sales tax would cover the relocation costs.

Forrester estimated that Treatment Services currently saves the county $3 million to $4 million annually by keeping prisoners out of the jail.

 

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