Hardin resident believes county info. on Two Rivers is not accurate

Letter to the Editor
Thursday, October 4, 2018
Article Image Alt Text

While it appears Big Horn County needs better jail facilities, it does not appear to matter to the county commissioners or Undersheriff Mike Fuss whether or not they are honest with the voters.

The facility already available in Big Horn County, the Two Rivers Detention Facility, was actually built by an entity that builds prisons and detention facilities for a living – unlike Schutz-Foss, an architectural firm that builds office buildings.

Whether or not the commissioners and Mr. Fuss are “experts” in detention facilities is up for grabs. In my opinion, they are not, and while discussing certain aspects of a detention facility – outdoor exercise areas for example – they actually are dishonest with their audience regarding the space in the blueprints and the space at Two Rivers. This is only one of several misleading pieces of information voters have received from this group.

They also have failed to explain to voters how a new facility will be funded. Walk around Hardin: How many businesses are open? How many pay taxes? You can talk around it in any way you wish, but the actual check has to be cut to the contractor who puts boots on the ground and digs the holes. That money will come from taxes. Now, it’s pretty simple to say, “bond issue” and let it go. All bond issues come from taxes. Taxes come from businesses who make a profit and from property/homeowners.

At least two county commissioners and Mr. Fuss don’t even own taxable property in Big Horn County. Why would they care if taxes need to be raised to pay for a new building when a perfectly good building is available for pennies? Do you rent? Well, unless your landlord is a complete ditz, your rent will go up every time taxes are increased. Why would your landlord pay out of his pocket when he can have you pay it with a rent increase?

So, why are we having this discussion? Why are we spending taxpayer money to convince taxpayers they should increase their tax burden? I don’t know. Maybe we should explain that building a new facility is a pretty impractical use of tax money, will have a very negative impact on the environment and is a complete unnecessary creation of jobs for people from Yellowstone County for a short period of time. Maybe we can explain that an empty detention facility is a waste of taxpayer dollars, just like building another one will be another waste. Time to start thinking big, Big Horn County commissioners, and start discussing how to save money, meet the need and maybe even make a profit. It’s our job to make sure our taxes are used to the greatest effectiveness and this is not it!

Linda Hill