Voters Deserve an Explanation
Last week, the Moore County Commissioners held a public hearing to decide whether to borrow $40 million to build a new detention center/jail in Carthage.
Moore County is already $100 million in debt. The county could issue General Obligation bonds, which would be the least expensive alternative and would allow citizens to vote on whether to proceed with the project.
At the public hearing, people expressed their concerns about the effect the new jail would have on public safety and property values and raised questions about how the county would make $3 million per year bond payments.
Commissioner Morgan made a motion to put the issue on the November ballot and allow the public to vote on it. Commissioner Lea seconded the motion, but it was voted down by Commissioners Caddell, Picerno and Melton.
Two of the commissioners who voted it down ignored a request to recuse themselves. They are affiliated with Southern Software, which sells software to jails and law enforcement agencies.
Their company “donated” its software to the Moore County Sheriff’s Department, and if the county builds this state-of-the-art jail it will provide a perfect showcase for the company to demonstrate its software, which it sells to other sheriff’s departments for $350,000 plus a $25,000 annual maintenance fee.
Moore County is undergoing budget cuts and hiring freezes, and there are serious questions about whether we should make this project a priority and cut funding to other projects to pay for it.
These decisions should be made by the citizens of Moore County and not by two men who will personally profit from the project.
I hope The Pilot and voters will challenge these men to explain why they chose to deny the people a chance to vote on this important issue.
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