- Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 June 2009 16:09
- Published on Wednesday, 17 June 2009 16:09
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The Northern Neck Regional Jail was one discussion topic that the Westmoreland Supervisors considered worthy of their highest praise when the time came to add their county’s approval of the facility’s upcoming budget to other participating jurisdictions.
Regional Jail Superintendent Jeff Frazier made his annual visit to the Westmoreland County Board’s June meeting and was enthusiastically received by Board of Supervisors Chairman Darryl Fisher, a founding Jail Board member who currently holds the position of Northern Neck Regional Jail Board Chair.
Fisher was already well acquainted with the budget document that was before the Board of Supervisors for approval. He praised the long-serving Superintendent’s effectiveness in maintaining a self-supporting institution that required no financial support from the participating Northern Neck jurisdictions.
In a recent meeting Supervisor Lynn Brownley delivered similar comments when he praised the wisdom of the late Westmoreland Sheriff C. W. “Buddy” Jackson for originating the idea of bringing in the U.S. Marshall Service as a partner.
The plan attributed to Sheriff Jackson and Superintendent Frazier allowed substantial levels of support to be derived from the housing of federal prisoners. Federal money subsidized the ambitious capital building project and continues to cover that institution’s operating costs.
“What we have in front of us is a good budget that has absorbed the challenges that come with these tough economic times,” said Chairman Fisher of the new regional jail budget whose bottom line is $8,896,246.00.
Fraizer advised that cost saving measurers reflected in an upcoming year’s operations include an energy conservation initiative and organizational innovations that minimize employee overtime.
“We’re holding the line,” said Frazier. “We’re not asking for any money from any of the counties. Our income is up, but we had to pull $600,000 from the fund balance to replace failing equipment.”
Equipment that has been in constant use since the jail opened in 1995 had begun to fail, Frazier told the Board of Supervisors. Replacement was the only remedy.
“The regional jail pays its own debt service and it’s in the black,” commented Brownley. “It started out with 42 positions and has since grown to 100 positions. That’s pretty good!”
Fisher praised the regional jail as the region’s most successful economic development initiative.
“A lot of our local folk are employed down there,” he stated. “It’s a fine facility and it’s the desire of the Board to continue to increase employment opportunities, so young folk don’t have to commute out of the [area].
“I’m just sorry,” Fisher then told Board of Supervisors colleagues and the public, “that we didn’t already have water and sewer here in Westmoreland when we were putting that project together.
“It’s a fine facility, and some of the most famous folk you know have been there.”
The Supervisors thanked Superintendent Frazier for his service and then voted to approve Northern Neck Regional Jail’s new budget. Employee salaries and wages account for $4,097,268.00 of the new budget, with employee benefits adding another $1,477,411.00 to the expenditures’ bottom line.