LACONIA — Belknap County Commissioner Dave DeVoy (R-Sanbornton) claims that fellow commissioner Richard Burchell (R-Gilmanton) is undermining efforts to develop a plan for a community corrections center by providing incorrect information on the size and cost of the project, which is still in the developmental stage.
DeVoy said that two options will be presented at a March 24 meeting with consultants from Alternative Solutions Associates, Inc., the firm the county hired for $40,000 to develop a program for a community corrections facility.
One would be for a 19,400-square-foot building and another for a 23,900-square-foot building, which based on a $200 per square foot anticipated cost, would bring the construction cost in at between $4 and $5 million, said DeVoy.
''The Community Corrections Center is not 30,000-square-feet or $8 million as reported in the paper,'' said DeVoy, who called on Burchell to cite the page and paragraph in the consultant's report which has those numbers.
Burchell provided those numbers at a solo meeting he had with the press following a March 2 commissioner's meeting at which he was apparently ousted as chairman by DeVoy and commissioner Hunter Taylor (R-Alton).
DeVoy wrote in an e-mail to Burchell: ''very disappointed you demanded you deal directly with the consultant with the sole purpose of undermining everyone's efforts.''
Burchell replied in an e-mail addressed to DeVoy, calling him the "vice chair" and answering, ''I have not undermined anyone or anything''. He maintained that the information which he made available to the press came from the ''Go to Meeting'' with the consultants on Feb. 27 ''at the same time that I was being maligned for not being engaged.''
Burchell said at the March 2 briefing a community corrections facility would cost between $7 and $8 million and would require between seven and 10 new staff members and suggested it would be less expensive for the county in the long run to build a $14 million jail along traditional lines because there would be a minimal staffing increase which would hold down future staffing costs compared to what it would cost for a community corrections facility.
Burchell expressed skepticism that there was an appetite in the county for spending the amount of money he thinks it will take to build and staff an inmate rehabilitation and education center. He also pointed out that the space estimates developed by the consultant for a 23,941-square-foot facility needed a multiplier for corridors, mechanical spaces and thickness of walls which would add 30 percent to square footage..
The roughly outlined community corrections facility plan for the county would see 30 treatment beds, 20 for men and 10 for women, and 34 work release beds, 24 for men and 10 for women. The new facility, which would be built next to the current jail and possibly connected to it, would be of heavy commercial grade construction, several steps below the type of construction needed for a secure jail facility.
The e-mails between Burchell and DeVoy have been widely circulated to all members of the county convention, whom DeVoy has invited to attend the March 24 meeting with the commissioners and consultants.
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