TO THE EDITOR: Voters need to know how the Pierce County election for judge will impact the financial state of the county and property taxes.
Currently, the county board has budgeted, and your tax dollars have paid, for about 50 jail beds each night. Each bed over that costs the county around $50 a night. When the incarcerated population approaches 70 people, the additional unbudgeted costs exceed $1,000 every day.
The jail population impacts when and if a new jail must be paid for and built, current safety and security of the courthouse and employees, our 911 dispatcher/jailers ability to respond to emergency calls, costs to the county and thus taxpayers, and jail safety.
I find it very difficult to decipher the comments of the three candidates into actual numbers, such as those we need to prepare a budget or plan to pay our taxes. I understand that candidates may intend to implement programs that will impact the jail population. We need to then know how long these will take to implement, how much they will cost, and how it will impact jail population and the end results of a person's involvement in the justice system. If the candidates are unaware of the crime issues facing Pierce County, they should probably take the time to look up current and past crime statistics, and observe the trends to predict future expectations.
So please candidates, give us enough information to be informed voters. How many jail beds will you need, and what will be the costs and benefits of programs you will implement to reduce our jail population? We, the voters, will have to pay for your decisions as judge; the least we can expect is to be told honestly what those will be.