LEXINGTON, Miss. – With the Mississippi Department of Corrections moving 41 inmates out of the Hinds County Work Center on Tuesday another sheriff is expecting to be next.
“You’re talking just $200-thousand to $300-thousand in labor that we’ll lose,” says Holmes County Sheriff Willie March. With state inmates moving out, Sheriff March says it comes with a cost.
“Definitely going to affect the taxpayers who already put over $500-thousand now you’re going back and having to hire employees to what the inmates were doing,” says March. Nearly four years ago, March says Holmes County was tasked with building a separate facility for state inmates, costing county taxpayers $500-thousand dollars. “The county went in to debt to do it,” says March.
State inmates provide free labor for the county by maintaining county buildings, trash pickup and other beautification projects. There are 30 counties participating in the state county work program. “The state is going to have to pick up their tab. The county’s been doing it but surely the supervisors they’re not going to hire an employee to work the state highways. It’s not a win, win, win for the state of Mississippi. The state of Mississippi is going to feel this also.
According to MDOC Commissioner Marshal Fisher ending the work program will save the state 3-million dollars…
“If it will save the state of Mississippi $3M but look at what you’re costing the citizens of 30 counties,” counters March.
According to the state’s Board of Supervisors Association counties will lose nearly $23-million in revenue.
“Eventually the board of supervisors will have to bite the bullet to raise taxes to hire and surely they’re going to get blamed for raising taxes but through it all the taxpayers of these 30 counties and cities will be the one that feel the hit,” says March.
Fisher wasn’t available for an interview Wednesday to comment on the story.