One of the signature accomplishments claimed by outgoing McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren is the build-out of the unfinished top floor of the jail with the help of $6.5 million in Federal funds.
Now, figures from the Sheriff’s Department show taxpayers losing $5-6 million a year on operating costs (from FY 2008-2012) to house illegal aliens and prisoners at the behest of ICE and the U.S. Marshal’s Service, respectively.
On the floor built on the premise that it might be needed someday, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Marshal folks pay $85 a day to house those in the country illegally, plus prisoners.
The deal was sold as a money maker for the County, but it has not turned out that way.
While being paid $85 a day, the cost averaged $131.38 per day over the five years ending in 2012 for which figures were released last April by consultant Joseph Summerill. He used information supplied by the Sheriff’s Department.
Summeriil shows total revenues of $48,257,530 over the five year period. (See page 5 of his presentation below.)
The jail’s operating budget for the same period (see page 7), however, was $78,705,417.
The operating cost is obviously substantially more that the revenue.
Summerill was hired for $60,000 last spring by the County Board to negotiate a new deal with the Feds by the end of last July. (See p. 15.)
Do the math using the figures above supplied by the Sheriff’s Office to Joseph Summeriil and one sees $131.38 would have to be the per diem charge to break even.
That’s an average of $15.74 million a year in budgeted expenses versus $9.65 million a year in revenue.
By multiplying the average cost per day over the five years studied–$131.38–by the number of Federal days cells were occupied–567,736–one may estimate that the total cost for housing them was $74,589,156.
The difference between the revenue from the Federal government and
- the budgeted figure of $78.7 million above and
- the estimated actual cost of $74.6 million
divided by five makes it appear that McHenry County taxpayers were subsidizing the Federal government an average of $5 to $6 million per year during the five years from 2008 to 2012
So why hasn’t the County Board noticed the $26 million to $30 million five-year deficit and done something to stem the hemorrhaging of tax dollars?
“It’s a terrific program that creates jobs and builds a working relationship with the federal government.”
Meanwhile McHenry County has one of the highest property tax burdens in the whole United States.
With the March 18th election less than a month away, no written report has been submitted by Summeriil.
Suspicious observers think the reason for the delay is much like the delay in releasing the investigatory report exonerating Andy Zinke of any wrongdoing in the RITA incident.
The Northwest Herald did report that Nygren recently met with Federal officials in Washington over the reimbursement issue.
However competing facilities charge less than the $85 now paid McHenry County:
- $70 – Kenosha County, Wisconsin
- $65 – Dodge County, Wisconsin (northwest of Milwaukee)
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