Beaufort County Commissioners Vote to Ignore Over Budget Spending | Eastern North Carolina Now

    Beaufort County Commissioners, at their April 1, 2019 meeting voted not to appoint a committee to look into controlling inmate medical costs. To date the County has one jail inmate that has accumulated $600,000 in medical expense. The County Manager claims he has no control over medical spending in the jail. The Sheriff claimed on the first bill for $346,000 that he did not know about it. However, Sheriff Coleman does claim he is king of the jail. The bill for this one inmate could go to one million dollars because there are another two months of care that has not been billed. How many more medical prisoners are out there that we do not know about?

    A request was made about one month before the April 1 meeting for the status of outside medical services for all of our inmates. In other words, by inmate, how much have we spent on each for outside medical services since they were placed in jail. This request has not been answered to date. I think I know the answer. There is no one in Beaufort County who knows or tries to control jail medical costs.

    Here is where we are. The manager says he is not responsible, Sheriff Coleman dies not know. The Board of County Commissioners voted 5 to 2 to do nothing. Voting to control costs was Richardson and Deatherage. Voting to not control costs was Waters, Brinn, Evans, Langley and Booth. This is my tax money that is being wasted , same as yours.

    The way the jail cell repairs are being handled is another huge waste of money. Based on information presented at the April Commissioners meeting. The manager along with Chairman Evans and Frankie Waters made a decision during middle January of 2019 to shut down about 40 cells in the jail and keep prisoners out of county at a minimum cost of $2,500 per day including transportation. Four Commissioners, Richardson, Deatherage, Langley and Booth indicated in the public meeting that they were not a part of this decision. Brinn was not specific enough for me to say where he is in this financial fiasco.

    During the last jail shutdown for plumbing repairs, the question was asked, "What else needs to be fixed? The answer was "Nothing". Now, suddenly we find out about this problem. Law enforcement claims they have know about the jail cell situation for ever. Does law enforcement always tell us the truth?

    This decision puts a heavy burden on the tax payers. Looks like this will go on for one year. That is an additional cost of $900,000. This is a decision the entire board should approve. Looks like we are back

    to a King Chairman situation. Also, King Chairman Evans, his trusty side kick Fake Frankie Waters and the manager also make the decision not to try to do a temporary repair of cells until a permanent fix could be done. This is a great example of back room dealing

    With Sheriff's cars lining up at the jail like taxis in front of a casino, there cannot be much crime control or the serving of papers going on in Beaufort County. Prisoners have to be hauled back to Beaufort County to meet trial dates.

    The medical costs in the jail are running, that we know about, more than $600,000 over budget and the cost of keeping prisoners out of county is another $400,000. This is all over budget money. I suspect the manager will do the same thing we did last year and ask for approval of the extra spending well after the new fiscal year begins on July 1 of 2019. That way this waste does not show up for consideration by the commissioners during the budget approval process . Then this expense comes out of savings because to do otherwise would bust next year's budget. This means a tax increase. This is another example of back room dealing.

    To add insult to injury there is a movement to put the building of a public safety complex on the ballot to allow the voters to decide to tax themselves. A public safety complex would be a jail, an EMS facility, a court room and sheriff's offices. Spending another 25 million dollars will not solve our problem. There is no management provided by any part of county government.

    The Board voted 5 to 2 to keep the closed session minutes from the Leary lawsuit on transparent county government secret for the full allowable time provided by the statutes. That is three years. Let me see, we were sued for back room dealings. Several commissioners feelings were really hurt. Those same commissioners voted to keep the closed session minutes secret for another three years. Do they have anything to hide? These guys think secret government is a way of life. They say they have nothing to hide but they want that kept a secret!
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