Jail woes soon to equal taxpayer woes?

Published 11:02 pm Friday, September 9, 2016

I read with great curiosity the ‘paid’ description of Messenger’ reporter Jacob Holmes. He vividly paints Sheriff Thomas’ description of the jail as being in such disrepair that “a good strong wind could bring the building down”.

Please, Sheriff Thomas, some of us are not quite asleep yet.

This statement, you and the city’s attorneys should be well aware, could bring a heap of lawsuits upon us, the taxpaying citizens of the great city of Troy, by an astute inmate being housed in such ‘dangerous conditions’.  Some lawyers sue just for fun (and a lot of money), again at taxpayers’ expense.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Having personally helped build a great many masonry structures, to include hospitals, schools and yes: jails, I plan to take issue with your assertion.  As I now approach 73 years of age, some of my earlier work is now 50 years old and nowhere near being in danger of being “blown down” from the snow storms of New Hampshire to some 30 years of building masonry structures in hurricane prone Florida. I have literally laid thousands upon thousands of both bricks and blocks and poured thousands upon thousands of yards of concrete, as much as 600 yards at one time, in as many technical applications (CBS) as an engineer can find in his textbook.

Several days ago I had the occasion to sit down with Sheriff Thomas in his office to discuss a personal problem that a member of his staff had partially helped me solve.  I expressed my sincere appreciation to Sheriff Thomas for his service to me as well as the community. He has, we can all agree, earned his formidable political stature by being an excellent listener.  Incidentally, being a good listener does not mean one has to be in agreement on the problem at hand.  However, being a good listener is sometimes tantamount to arriving at well-reasoned and clearly thought out decisions.  This can be especially true when dealing with the public in matters of law and the preservation of what we all believe to be ‘justice’.

Now, obviously, thrust into this reasoning process comes the judicial use of the publics’ hard earned cash that we have entrusted to our elected officials  for the planned expenses in the execution of their sworn  duties to serve and protect the county’s’ citizenry.  We cannot thank these civil and oft elected employees enough for their service in an ever expanding extra ordinary dangerous job that they and all others like them now face in a nation whose morals have hit the skids, making their jobs even more dangerous.

I am sure that the proposed building of the new jail with entail some public meetings.  May the sheriff and the elected powers that be, be mindful of the Sunshine Laws.  Please take the personal responsibility of making certain that there is sufficient notice of all public meetings and hearings that involve the purchase of any bonds or public financing for the new structure. Print the notices in bold print on the FRONT page of the Messenger. You are of course, completely aware, that these buildings are extremely expensive. In my former business, Midstate Masonry and Supply Inc., I had personally  bid this type of structure and I doubt that any other type of masonry construction costs more per square foot except perhaps buildings housing nuclear components.

Masonry construction is my forte, and I will question the entire project to include the political motives (To rule out the appearance of any perceived corruption) the legal motives, the liability issues, the prestige issues, (a new jail to keep up with the Jones’s and to add feathers to our caps), and on and on and on.

Let us make the expenditures based upon a well published and well thought out explanation of all the alternatives. There are masonry structures surrounding the nearby geographical area, some of which date back to the Civil War. (Shall we raze them all?) If so, let us take the wrecking ball to the downtown square. The reading public will then all be able to thank the Messenger for its well-executed investigative reporting based upon facts and not emotions.

As much as I enjoy saying it “I am not so certain that future Pike County jail detainees are entitled to greater comfort at taxpayer expense that I am as a tax paying citizen”. Selfish ain’t I.  Think about it conservative Pike County. As a responsible taxpaying citizen I urge you to PLEASE follow the news for at least an education involving the spending of your hard earned cash. Hopefully your trusted local newspaper, The Messenger, (whose inception dates back to the 1800’s) will publish a well-documented and very descriptive two sided story.

(In remembrance of Troy City Council Woman Dejerilyn King who never failed to take a bull by the horns no matter how brutal the ride) Oppositional thinking is a necessary ingredient in a democratic society.

Larry Wilke

Troy resident