County News # 1A couple of citizens took time to voice their concerns on the proposed jail addition during Monday’s County Council meeting.

During the public input portion Adam Theda expressed his concerns with a $20 million dollar project. He attended the presentation by RQAW last month and questioned the “ever increasing incarceration rates” while the county’s population has seen a period of decline over the last 30 years.

Theda said the county is implementing multiple incentives including the addition of a fourth court, implementation of Rule 26 and David’s Courage to soon be operational.

Adam Theda questioned why the task force working this last year hadn’t included anyone from the public.  He also questioned if the public has had the opportunity to comment on the addition, especially about the tax impact.

Ed Rodriquez, a local bail bonds man questioned the cash bond requirement in our county while all the surrounding counties allow surety bonds which put the burden on the bonds man and the insurance company instead of the county.  He suggested the county take a hard look at bonds and treatment.  Rodriquez also questioned whether a study had been done on who is incarcerated in the jail and repeat offenders.

Sheriff Matt Hassel told members of the County Council and those in attendance that 60 plus percent of the inmates in the jail are from outside Marshall County.  He also said the number two reason inmates were booked into the jail in 2018 were for dealing.  He said, if we could shutdown the demand for drugs in the county there would be a significant change in the inmate population.

On December 2nd the County implemented Rule 26 and looking over the criteria, only one person has been about to be released instantly.

Councilmember and former Sheriff, Jon Van Vactor explained the thought of cash bonds instead of surety bonds.  The decision is made by the judges and not the council or commissioners.  The judges used the cash from the bonds are used to pay fines, court costs and lawyer fees which typically help dispose of the case.

In the end, the County Council moved forward with the first reading of an ordinance for a general obligation bond to finance the expansion and an ordinance for the additional appropriation for the jail project.  It was noted that while the council kept the project moving forward, the ordinances must past on three readings and a public hearing will be held at their January meeting for the second reading.

The County Council also passed a motion requesting a joint session with the commissioners and task force members that would be a public information meeting and would be held in the evening.  While at date and time wasn’t set, it’s anticipated the meeting will be held prior to the January meeting of the County Council.