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City of Thornton letter to Adams County, October 25, 2011

City of Thornton letter to Adams County, October 25, 2011

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Published by TonysRants
City of Thornton's response to Adams County regarding the sheriff's proposal to charge for housing inmates.
City of Thornton's response to Adams County regarding the sheriff's proposal to charge for housing inmates.

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Published by: TonysRants on Nov 16, 2011
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11/16/2011

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City
of
Thornton
CityHaU9500CivicCenterDriveThornton.Colorado80229-4326CityManagersOffice303-538-7200FAX303-538-7562www.cityofthornton.net
October25,2011AdamsCountyBoardofCommissionersHonorableAliceNicholHonorableW.
R.
"Skip"FischerHonorableErikHansen4430SouthAdamsCountyParkwayBrighton,CO80601DearCommissioners:Afterconsiderablediscussionatarecentmeeting,theThorntonCityCouncilhastakenthepositionthatitdoesn'tsupporteitherOptionAorOptionB.TheCouncilviewstheprovisionofJailServicesasabasicpublicsafetyservicethatourresidentsarepayingforthroughtheirpropertytaxes.TheydonotbelieveimplementingeitheroneoftheseoptionsservesthepublicinterestnorwillitprovidethebudgetarysavingstheCountyisseeking.Background.OnOctober14,2011,theAdamsCountyBoardofCountyCommissioners(BOCC)heldameetingintheCountyAdministrativebuildingwiththeSheriff,DistrictAttorneyandMayorsandManagersfromthroughouttheCounty.ThestatedpurposeofthemeetingwastodiscusstheSheriffsproposedplantoplaceacaponmunicipalprisonersheldintheAdamsCountyJail.TheSheriffhaspreviouslystatedhewastakingsuchactionduetotheimpactsonjailstaffingresultingfromahiringfreezethattheBOCChadimplementedintheCounty.Atthebeginningofthemeeting,adocumentwasdistributedthatoutlinedtwooptionsregardingthehousingofmunicipalinmatesintheCountyJail.Bothoptionsappliedonlytomunicipalinmatesandwouldrestrictthecities'accesstojailservicesand/orsignificantlyincreasethecosttomostofthecitiestoutilizetheCounty'sJailservices.ItwasclearthattheconstructofthemeetingtoprovideanopportunityfortheCountytoproposetwooptionstoaddressbudgetissuesratherthanprovideaforumforthemanypolicymakersandmanagersinattendancetodiscussalternatives.TheBOCCindicatedtheyhadidentifiedagoaltoclosethreepodsintheCountyJail,butdidnotprovideanyinformationastothebudgetarysavingstheyweretryingtoachieve.TheBOCCrequestedthecities'reviewthetwooptionsandindicatewhichoptioneachhadselectedatafollow-upmeetingonOctober25,2011.ThepurposeofthisletteristoprovidearesponsetotheBOCC'srequest.Ourresponseisbased,inpart,oninformationwehavegleanedfromAdamsCountybudgetdocumentsandComprehensiveAnnualFinancialReportsavailableontheCounty'swebsite
 
AdamsCountyBoardofCommissionersOctober25,2011Page2and/orinformationsharedbytheSheriffandotherCountystaff.WehadrequestedinformationregardingtheoperationoftheJailandthesavingsthatcouldbeattributedtoclosingthreepods,andwereinformedthatinformationwouldbeprovidedtousbutthisinformationwasnotavailableatthetimeofthiswriting.Thereforethisdocumentreliesontheinformationthatwasavailabletous,asnotedinthisparagraph.Asnotedpreviously,weunderstandthattheSOCChasadesiretoreducethestaffingrequiredtooperatethejailthroughtheclosingofthree"pods"whichrequiresarequisitereductionintheaveragedailyjailpopulation("ADP")toapproximately1,100.Theprimaryproposedstrategytoenableclosingthreepodsistoreducethenumberofbedsthathistoricallyhavebeenprovidedtothecitiesfrom130to30.Wehavebeenunabletoobtainanyestimateofthesavingsassociatedwithclosingthree"pods"fromtheCountybut,basedonthelimiteddatawehaveregardingtheoperationoftheJail,weestimatethatclosingthreepods(eachpodbeingabletoaccommodate64inmateseachforatotalof192)wouldallowtheCountytoeliminatetwelvepositions--theequivalentnumberofpositionsneededtoprovidetwostaff24hrs/7daysperweek.ThisreductioninstaffingwouldsavetheCountyapproximately$1Millionoveraperiodofayear.TheconcernthecitieshaveisthattheproposedcutinJailserviceswillhaveasignificantimpactonthecities,butvirtuallynoimpactontheinmatescomingthroughtheStateCourtsystemthatutilizetheJail.AccordingtotheAdamsCounty2011AbstractofAssessment,75%ofallpropertytaxcollectedbyAdamsCountycomesfromthecities(incorporatedareas)intheCounty.Overthelastseveralyears,propertytaxrevenueshaveaccountedforapproximately71.5%oftheCounty'sGeneralFund-whichiswheretheSheriff'sDepartmentexpendituresarebudgeted.Whenyoudothemath(75%times71.5%),thismeansthatpropertyownersintheCounty'scitiescontributealmost54%ofGeneralFundrevenues.Wesubmitthatthecities'taxpayerscurrentlyprovidemorerevenuetotheCountythantheservicestheyreceive.In2011,thebudgettooperatetheCountyJail/JusticeCenterwasalittleover$31million.AfterdeductingtherevenuesdirectlyattributabletotheJail/JusticeCenter,theremainingbudgetof$29millionispaidforbypropertytaxes.Thecities'taxpayerspickup54%ofthiscostyet,onaverage,municipalinmateshavehistoricallyaccountedforabout10%oftheADP.AdamsCountyisproposingtoreducemunicipalinmatesfromhistoricalnumbersrangingfrom110to130perdaytoa"softcap"of30municipalinmatesperdayinordertoachievetheover-allgoalof1,100ADP.Atthis"softcap"level,municipalinmatesintheAdamsCountyJailwouldaccountforonlyabout2.7%oftheADP.Anotherexampleofwherethecities'taxpayersareprovidingmorerevenuetotheCountythantheservicestheyreceiveistheSheriff'sOfficepatrolanddetectives
 
J
AdamsCountyBoardofCommissionersOctober25,2011Page3operations.MostoftheservicesprovidedbytheSheriff'sOfficeforpatrolanddetectivesaredirectedtowardstheunincorporatedareasoftheCounty,yet54%ofthecostsoftheseservicesarebeingpaidforbythecities.ThehousingofmunicipalinmatesisakeyservicetheCountyhasprovidedtothecitiesformanydecadesfundedthroughthepropertytaxespaidbythecities.Westronglyobjecttoreducingthislevelofservicewhenourcitiesarealreadypayingmorethanourfairshareofthecoststooperatethejail.WehavelearnedthatArapahoeandJeffersonCounty'sJailshave80-100municipalinmatesonanygivenday.Therearenocapsorfees,currentlyorplanned,forhousingmunicipalinmatesasthesecountiescontinuetorecognizethesignificanceofthetaxespaidbymunicipalpropertyowners.InArapahoeandJeffersonCountyJails,municipalinmatesaccountfor7to8%oftotalaveragedailypopulation(ADP).ThecurrentstaffinglevelfortheAdamsCountyJailasincludedinthe2011BudgetcompareswithArapahoeandJeffersonCountyJailsasreflectedinthefollowingtable.CountyJailAvgDailyBudgetedStaffInmatesPopulationStaffLevelperInmateperStaffAdams1100285.263.86Arapahoe1174403.5.342.91Jefferson1170375.323.12Basedontheaboveanalysis,itappearstousthatAdamsCountyJailstaffinglevel,beforeanyadjustments,isbelowthesetwosimilarcounties.TheCitydoesnotsupporteitherOptionAorOptionBasproposedbytheBOCC.WerecognizethattheBOCCisattemptingtoaddressabudgetaryissuethroughthisstrategy.However,wewouldproposeathirdoption-OptionC-whichoutlinesanumberofstrategiesthatcouldpotentiallyhaveamuchgreaterbudgetaryimpactwithouttheunintendedconsequencesassociatedwithplacingacaponmunicipalprisoners.OPTIONC1.TransferLonger-TermPrisonerstoLower-CostJails.InaletterfromtheBOCCdatedDecember15,2010,itwasreportedthatitcoststheCounty$88perdayforeachprisonerinitsJail.Itisourunderstandingthatothercountyjails(Park,andWashington)haveunusedcapacitythatisavailableatalowercostthanAdamsCountyasfollows:

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