68 guards to watch 61 inmates and a cost of $60 million

Does this make any sense?

The Sussex County prison has become a point of contention hanging over the fiscal future of the property taxpayers of Sussex County.

The county prison has become a white elephant due to bail reform, which was enacted under Republican Governor Chris Christie.  The need that was there in the past no longer exists. 

Should the taxpayers be made to continue to pay for something they no longer need?

What’s worse is that the 1970’s construction practices that built the county prison were slipshod and are no longer up to standard.  Advocates to keep the prison open, like those aligned with Sheriff candidate Andy Boden, argue that the prison could be rebuilt to house a new population.  Boden’s supporters suggest that the county spend the money up front and then go out and find a population to place into the facility. 

Boden’s people are hoping that the facility could serve as a drug rehabilitation center.  Of course, to bring the county prison up to current drug rehab facility standards would take upwards of $60 million.  That’s BIG money.

This has the makings of another solar program scandal.  $60 million in new debt on top of the $113 million already there – in a county with an annual budget of just $112 million.  It is kind of crazy.

In the coming weeks, we’re going to drill down on the numbers, get you the details, and publish what we get from both sides in this discussion.  Again, we’ll take what we are given from both sides in this discussion and publish it.

And a word to the wise.  We are not going to be intimidated by people who shouldn’t be abusing their authority to shut down democracy and debate.  Public employees who pack guns shouldn’t try to intimidate writers into silence and we won’t be intimidated.  We’ll go to your unions… then to the Attorney General… and then to the Feds if need be.  You’ve been warned.