A press conference was called today at 3:00 p.m. at the Livingston County Commission Office to announce the intentions to indefinitely close the Livingston County Jail which opened in 1978. Over the years the county has attempted to maintain the jail facility but we have reached a critical point where hard decisions had to be made.
There are a variety of repair needs with some being extremely costly and now critical. Also there are additional staffing needs to safely and securely run the facility.
Livingston County does not have adequate revenue or reserves in both Law Enforcement Sales Tax and General Revenue to properly address any of these issues. We are also taking into consideration the unfunded federal mandate of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (estimated by the feds to be a $50,000 annual additional expense for Livingston County beginning with 2013) and the expected loss of reimbursements on prisoner per diem from the State of Missouri. (2010 reimbursements for prisoners by the state was nearly $160,000 while for 2012 we are on track for approximately $110,000.)
The County Commission, County Clerk, and Sheriff are in agreement that at this time we are not willing to ask our citizens to support an additional bond or tax issue to cover the significant costs to repair and staff the current jail facility.
We believe the best solution is to contract our jail needs with the Daviess Dekalb County Regional Jail. This agreement is expected to permit us to live within our means and not ask for additional revenue. This will also free up additional staff hours for the deputy and sheriff to conduct law enforcement work and investigations instead of tending to detainees.
The 5 full time detention officers at the jail have been notified their positions are being eliminated in the near future. We greatly appreciate the dedication and work our detention staff has given the community.
We have all agreed to periodically review this matter for considerations of other alternatives.