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November 26, 2010 - 3:23pm

Genesee Justice by the numbers

posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Justice.

This post is an attempt to gather as many data points as possible related to the issue of Genesee Justice and the county budget.  If you can think of anything that's missing, let me know. Bonus points if you can provide the data.

Genesee Justice was founded in 1981 and by 2006, had received about $6.3 million in grants from government agencies and private foundations.

By the time founding Director Dennis Wittman retired in 2006, 4,959 offenders had performed community service, doing 356,858 hours of unpaid work.

The alternative to jail had also saved county taxpayers, as of 2006, more than $5.9 million because those offenders weren't in jail for the 60,000 days they would have served otherwise.

Jay Gsell's budget message indicates that "Continued female jail population management efforts, particularly in collaboration with Orleans and Wyoming counties, may be the only way to stave off radical State Commission of Correction mandates -- up to and including a new 100 to 120 bed county jail. With a $250,000 per bed construction cost ($24 to $28 million), plus increased staffing, (it) would effectively "blow a hole" in the county budget as 100 percent of these increases are county-only burdens."

At the budget hearing, Sheriff Gary Maha said a new jail would cost about $30 million.

The current jail has a capacity for 87 inmates with a variance to allow for 97 inmates, but can't house females. The annual operating budget is about $3 million.

The Genesee County Jail has revenue from housing inmates from other jurisdictions of about $100,000 per year, of which $30,000 to $35,000 comes from housing federal inmates. 

The county spends about $250,000 per year housing female inmates in other jails.

Livingston County recently completed a $28 million annex to its existing jail, taking the 90-bed facility to 189 beds. Prior to the expansion, Livingston had to place some inmates in Monroe and Steuben counties. The original jail was built in 1983. The annual operational budget is $4.48 million. Debt payment on the new addition is roughly $2 million over 15 years.

Genesee County Probation Department 2010 amended budget -- $1,028,784; proposed 2011 -- $1,354,464, an increase of $325,680

Genesee Justice 2010 amended budget, $678,477; proposed 2011 budget, $173,588, a decrease of $504,889.

Actual apparent cost savings, $179,209.

The total county budget is $140 million.

The total property tax levy is $24,994,063

The current assessment rate per $1,000 of assessed value is $9.82.

In 2007, the assessment rate was $9.98. In 2006, it was $10.25.

The total value of assessed property in Genesee County is $2,544,134,312.

A one penny increase in the levy would generate $254,000 (decimal place error; actual number is $25,400) in new revenue for the county.

A one penny increase in levy would raise the annual tax assessment on an $80,000 home by 80 cents. A dime assessment would be $8.

JoAnne Rock
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Let's recap. Back in April, we learned: "There are some 360 DWI convictions in Genesee County each year, according to County Manager Jay Gsell. Only about 40 percent of those drivers convicted are placed on probation. The rest are given a conditional release. While those on probation will mean additional supervisory responsibility for the county's probation department, the other 60 percent on conditional release will now require additional supervision for which there is little provision in the county budget to provide." Then in August, we learned: "The price tag for implementation (of Leandra's Law) is an extremely sore subject among county officials, who anticipate more costs for courts and the monitoring agencies. The Genesee County Probation Department estimated Leandra's Law supervision will increase its overtime from $2,500 this year to $84,000 in 2011. Leandra's Law supervision in Genesee County is being done by the probation department and Genesee Justice, which is an alternatives to incarceration program" On November 1st, we learned: "Under the proposal -- which Gsell says is very preliminary -- about seven-and-half positions in Genesee Justice would be eliminated and three positions created in probation. The Children's Advocacy Center, which employs two people, would remain under the supervision of the Sheriff's Office, which currently oversees Genesee Justice." Then on November 18th, we learned: Among the functions handled by Genesee Justice are: supervising first-time DWI offenders who have been granted a conditional discharge; overseeing work-release programs and community service; helping victims of crime with getting through the judicial process; and receiving restitution payments and completing paperwork, as well as managing the "release-under-supervision" (RUS) program. (Julie)Smith said that probation handled RUS for 26 years and they can easily take over the program again. On November 26th, we learned: Genesee County Probation Department 2010 amended budget -- $1,028,784; proposed 2011 -- $1,354,464, an increase of $325,680 ------------------------------- So, that $325,680 increase has to fund not only the projected overtime for 40% of Leandra's Law supervision cases, but now 100% since it will be taking over the cases handled by Genesee Justice. Keep in mind that overtime for just 40% of the cases was projected to increase by over 3,000% (not a typo). In addition, that $325,680 also has to cover the salaries for the three new proposed positions to handle the increased workload from Genesee Justice; plus whatever costs are associated with the programs that they will be taking over from Genesee Justice. And all of this is supposed to result in an actual apparent cost savings of $179,209? My only question is... HOW?
Kyle Couchman
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LOL Joanne welcome to the world of politics, the wizard says it will save money so it supposedly will. Pay no attention to the math behind the curtain. Magic/smoke and mirrors.... call it what you like, most everyone unless they do the "WORK" take their rep's word for it because he supposedly represents them.
Jennifer Keys
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Uh yeah, I'm confused...Genesee Justice saves us money over probation, has decreased their budget this year, and keeps nonviolent offenders out of jail, but the Legislature wants to downsize it and increase how much we spend on probation, but that's supposed to save money so they don't have to raise property taxes or the sales tax? Let's send a message to our representatives...
James T. Hansen
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thumbs up!

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