Its Right Across The River


I'm reading and now understanding that the issues surrounding the proposed construction of the new Grafton County jail are neither going away, and as of right now not down in cost to the taxpayers.

Actually, a 16% increase over what has already been quoted bringing the total cost to over 45 million dollars to replace an aging facility built in the late 1800s. This is in addition to the yearly seven million dollars in operating costs to run this new jail. I think the Grafton County Delegation did a good thing in delaying both the vote and the bond issue for this needed jail but the clock is still very much ticking and a decision as painful as it may be needs to be made.

But what should be done? And a better statement, what can be done?

I think both the Grafton County Commissioners and the Delegation need to do a better job in analysis of the total resources available before asking the taxpayers of Grafton county for this massive expenditure. For example right across the river in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont there is a proposal to close the Northeast Correctional Facility in St. Johnsbury a jail that I understand has a lower than average total inmate population and a facility that underwent a program of modernization in the 1990s. Why would it not be possible for Grafton County to use, lease or whatever part of the Northeast Correctional Facility save taxpayer money locally and maximize a resource that the two states could use.

Its right across the river.

But somehow I sense that for Grafton County the state capital of Concord is closer to this issue than is Vermont. Perhaps the New Hampshire Department of Corrections doesn't support the idea of cross border prisons? Could there be long range policy implications that clearly trump any real cost savings for both states?

Who knows.

I don't think Grafton County has the taxbase to be able to support a bond issue of this magnitude. To date, I haven't seen any contributions from either the federal or New Hampshire state government for this project. I think it makes sense to look across the river for possible solutions on a new jail for Grafton County.