Columnist off the mark on jail funding thoughts
Greg Harton’s Feb. 3 column, “Other people’s money always easier to spend” was way off the mark.
The Arkansas Constitution requires that Washington County operate a jail. There is no such constitutional mandate for cities.
As the cities in Northwest Arkansas grow, each annexation reduces the county government’s ability to pay for such constitutionally mandated services. Why must the ever shrinking number of county residents have to bear the total burden of a county jail when the number of persons held in the county jail are from the cities?
The proposal for the cities to pay a per-capita amount for accessing the county jail appears to be an inherently fair proposal because the city residents will be paying a fair share of the cost of the county jail.
You can bemoan how it is a tax on city folks who did not vote on such, but those city folds did vote on it when they chose to live in a city rather than the unincorporated area.
I encourage the Washington County Quorum Court to implement charging a per-capita amount to support operation of the county jail. The court is already struggling to fund constitutionally mandated services. The county has an ever shrinking unincorporated population due to annexations and the 2020 census will bring a real significant reduction in funding as the national Census fixes the population county to be used for the following decade.
I urge Mr. Harton to rethink his position and become a supporter of charging cities a per-capita fee for jail operation.