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Letter to the editor
Candidate needs to know jail facts
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Forsyth County News
I was reading Todd Levent’s Web site the other day (not that I can vote in that commissioner race thanks to the genius of our local legislative delegation), and noticed that Mr. Levent has a problem with the purchase of land for a future jail site.

Specifically, he has a problem with the county commission voting to spend “$7.2 million for land to build a jail that had not been approved by the voters.” He considers that “reckless spending.”

Since I actually had a hand in that, I’d like to set the record straight with a candidate who clearly doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Maybe Mr. Levent wasn’t paying attention before he decided to throw his hat into the ring regarding previous jail and justice center bond votes.

Perhaps he forgot that all previous votes had gone down in spectacular flames because the commissioners that authorized the votes continued to ask the voters to spend money on speculative ventures.

Both previous bonds had no real costs estimated and no location acquired for the proposed new jails, yet voters were asked to approve bonds in each instance.

The board I was involved with decided to do something completely radical. We actually found land AND designed a jail based on the specific property, thereby giving voters an actual informed choice whether to approve the bond or not.

That the sheriff scoped and designed a monster of a jail we really didn’t need and stuffed it with extras we couldn’t afford was the reason why it went down to defeat a third time, but the cost of building the jail was set in stone when it went to the voters. Unlike each previous vote.

That the land dropped in value and is sitting vacant is not the fault of county commissioners. Nor should putting all the information and costs associated with a proposed bond referendum be considered “reckless spending.”

In the real world we call this effective and responsible government. I hope Mr. Levent has done his homework on other issues, because he gets a failing grade on this one.

David W. Richard