Too much pressure and too many unanswered questions on Ada Sheriff Gary Raney’s proposed detox center. It is a needed service to dry out drunks and druggies, but details need to be ironed out PRIOR to implementation.
No one can explain why United Way has inserted itself in the mix with a “loan” to study the plan, but the Ada Comishes say they will pay them back. The $35,000 is chump change to both the city and county–why is the charity “loaning” cash to this deal?
Councilor David Eberle told the GUARDIAN, “These things take time. Our job is to protect the budget as well as future obligations. I have no idea how United Way got involved and don’t understand why they came up with $35,000 or who will pay it back.”
Here are just a few of the many unanswered issues.
–Boise City Councilors got the plan in January and were offered less than 30 days to “get on board.” The sheriff wants to have taxpayers within the city limits pay twice as much as county residents–a double taxation duly noted by city councilors. Every city resident is also a COUNTY resident, hence double taxation–on residents of ALL cities.
Boise would pay more for operation of the detox facility, but have no voice in the operation of the facility or its design, staffing etc.
Sheriff Gary scheduled a meeting last summer with hospital administrators and local government leaders, but that got derailed when the issue of public meetings at a private club was raised. The hospitals have long claimed they lose lots of money treating drunks and druggies in the emergency room because the people typically have no funds and the emergency room is expensive. Councilors and Sheriff Gary are urging the hospitals to pony up some cash so they won’t lose money in the future–there are some interesting tax and accounting issues involved in that idea!
Then there is the State of Idaho which is mandated by law to be the detox treatment authority in the state. They have done NOTHING and even got dinged in a legislative audit for inaction. They have since hired a detox czar, but so far he doesn’t have funds to do the job.
The GUARDIAN urges everyone to slow down and work out the details before committing funds. Rather than fill a void left by the state it may be worthwhile to put pressure on the state to obey the law.
Joint ownership is great, but that implies joint authority to operate, staff, and manage as well. If the sheriff gets Boise money is he willing to take orders from Mayor Dave Bieter?
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