The March meeting was the second of our “State of Hart County” series.  Our featured speakers were Sheriff Mike Cleveland and Commissioner Marshall Sayer.


            Sheriff Mike Cleveland described the problem of jail overcrowding.  The County, us taxpayers, spend over ¼ Million Dollars per year on just room and board fees to house prisoners in jails of other counties.  This cost does not include the deputy’s time, overtime, and transportation moving prisoners back and forth for court appearances and wear and tear on police vehicles.  He estimates a new jail with 150 bed capacity would
cost between $8 - $10 Million.  He reported the good news that violent crime is down while the bad news is that drug related crime are increasing.


            Commissioner Marshall Sayer reported on the good financial position of the County as attested to by the consistently low tax millage rate.  He addressed the various finance options for a new jail.  The Commissioners recognize that sooner or later the jail issue must be addressed.  At any time a judge could declare that the County must build a new jail and if that occurs the jail would have to be built to Department of Justice standards at greatly increased cost.


            The April meeting will feature Jess English the Vice President of St. Mary’s Hospital.  St Mary’s is a new large facility in nearby Lavonia.  It is underutilized for various reasons that will be addressed by Mr. English.  Also our Director of the Elections Board, Garry Hamilton, will tell us about the new voting machine law just passed by the Georgia Legislators along with changes in voter registration laws.


            We hope to see you at the April 15 meeting.