GOP Chairman Kidwell makes a compelling argument on the jail situation | Eastern North Carolina Now

    Publisher's Note: This article originally appeared in the Beaufort Observer.

    Keith Kidwell, Chairman of the Beaufort County Republican Party, made a very constructive presentation to the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners Monday (10-7-13) night. We'll post the video of his remarks once the video is released, but suffice it to say here that what he called for makes good sense. Regrettably, the response of the Gang of Four (Langley, Booth, Belcher and Klemm) was terribly inept.

    Kidwell called for sound planning before a decision is made about what to do about the current jail. You'ld think that goes without say. But it doesn't, in Beaufort County.

    Here are some points Kidwell made:

  • The "study" the Commissioners are currently touting by Moseley and Associates (architects) is flawed. We've previously documented that fact. Kidwell called for an independent review by expert(s) who do not stand to make financial gain from the results of what is recommended. Moseley plans to be the architects for the project. The more the project costs, the more they make. He illustrated his point by highlighting several mathematical errors in the Moseley reports, some as simple as incorrect addition.

  • Kidwell also called for a study of all of the options available for solving "the jail problem." The Jail Committee has considered only building a jail of either of two remote sites. Kidwell suggested an independent study to look at other possibilities, such as reducing the inmate load by various means, such as electronic house arrest for non-violent offenders, contracting out to neighboring counties the overflow of inmates, and objective assessment of building the jail behind the current courthouse as opposed to a remote site.

  • He called for transparency in the planning process. He suggested that a more diverse planning group should replace the existing hand-picked (by Langley) committee and he urged the Commission to educate the community on the problem and the alternatives for solving the problem, including submitting the decision to a referendum, pointing out that Article V. Section 4 of the N. C. Constitution says: "The General Assembly shall have no power to authorize any county, city or town, special district, or other unit of local government to contract debts secured by a pledge of its faith and credit unless approved by a majority of the qualified voters of the unit who vote thereon,..." (Note: later in the meeting the Board voted 4 (Klemm, Langley, Booth, Belcher) to 3 (Richardson, Deatherage, Brinn) to NOT submit the issue to the people for a vote.

  • He called for a study of the economic impact of building a new jail and particularly the impact on the City of Washington if the jail/sheriff's office etc. is built on a remote site. He pointed out that the Moseley study projects nearly tripling of the cost of operating the current facility if a remote jail is used.

  • In speaking of the economic impact of the jail, he focused his strongest comments of the harm a tax increase to pay for the cost of constructing and operating a new jail would have on the already strained taxpayers, many of whom have seen astronomical increases in their property taxes from revaluation, who have suffered from huge increases in their property insurance costs and are now facing large increases in their health insurance costs. He called for a delay in any increase in taxes during this recession.


    We think Kidwell is right on target with all of his comments and suggestions.

    The group that is so gung ho to build a new jail needs to have valid and solid information about the economic impact of all of the options and they have a duty to educate the public on all of those options.

    Using the Moseley numbers for construction and operation of a new remote jail, it is obvious that it would require a large increase in property taxes. According to calculations by Commissioner Hood Richardson. Richardson is know for "doing his homework" it would be at least a 10% increase as possibly as much as a 15% increase (depending on the final deicsions). If he is correct, such an increase would have devastating effects not only on struggling property owners but on everyone in Beaufort County as well. Renters pay property taxes in their rents. And when businesses are hit with increased taxes they either have to cut back their operating expenses and that usually means cutting jobs to reduce payroll costs or they pass along the higher cost of doing business to their customers. If they can't they go out of business. So anyone who lives in Beaufort County or anyone who buys products or services in Beaufort County ends up paying more because property taxes are higher.

    Some will argue that the new jail would "increase jobs." But that is not true. The truth is that it would kill many more jobs than are "created." We have previously documented here why the "creation" of government jobs actually hurts the economy rather than helping it. If you don't believe that, as we explain in the link above, then we would implore you to explain why the Obama Stimulus Plan did not lower unemployment, but rather resulted in the loss of more jobs than it created. Simply stated, when government creates a job it takes the money from more productive uses and puts it into less productive uses. Government jobs thus have a "negative multiplier" effect on the economy.

    Speaking for the Beaufort County Republican Party, Keith Kidwell has offered the Board of Commissioners a sound rationale and a very reasonable approach to this jail situation. We commend him for it.

    Here's the video of his presentation:

Go Back

Leave a Guest Comment

Your Name or Alias
Your Email Address ( your email address will not be published)
Enter Your Comment ( no code or urls allowed, text only please )

Pungo District Hospital, Special Called Meeting, September 30, 2013 County Commissioners, Government, Governing Beaufort County Governor McCrory Announces Aid for Food Banks in NC


Latest Governing Beaufort County

I reckon one could always argue that ignorance rests in the eyes of the beholder, but, I'm not taking that bet ... not in these Orwellian times, when so few of our fellow travelers know so little of what is real, and far too much of what otherwise might be terminally fake.
There were numerous local professional and educational opportunities showcased on Wednesday at the Beaufort County Job and Resource Fair.
Please click on the link to access the agenda for the Monday, February 12, 2024 City Council meeting
The Beaufort County Board of Commissioners will hold a special called meeting with the Beaufort County Board of Education on Wednesday, February 7, 2024 at 3:30 PM at the Professional Development Center located at 845 Pierce St, Washington, NC.
The Beaufort County Board of Commissioners will meet at 121 W. 3rd St, Washington, during the following times for their annual Planning Retreat:
The Beaufort County Board of Commissioners will meet in regular session on Monday, February 5, 2024 at 5:30 PM in the boardroom located at 136 W. 2nd St, Washington, NC


This morning’s update included very minor changes to timing of today’s forecasted impacts.
This afternoon’s update from the National Weather Service (NWS) included another increase in the forecasted wind conditions for Beaufort County.
This morning’s update from the National Weather Service (NWS) included an elevated threat of severe weather, to include the possibility of tornados, as well as an increase in the forecasted wind conditions.
Our office is continuing to monitor an approaching cold front that is expected to bring high winds, elevated water levels, rain and the potential for severe storms to our area Tuesday and Wednesday. Forecast details for Beaufort County can be found below.
Please click on the link to access the agenda for the Monday, January 8, 2024 City Council meeting.
Our office is currently monitoring the forecast of an approaching cold front that is expected to bring windy conditions, rain and the possibility of severe storms to eastern NC on Tuesday.


The Beaufort County Finance Committee will meet on Wednesday, December 20, 2023 at 3:00 PM in the conference room located at 136 W. 2nd St.


Back to Top