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Shelton Mason County Journal
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August 14, 2014     Shelton Mason County Journal
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August 14, 2014

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Pa~e A-~ - Mason gounty ~lournal - Tiqur~clay, Auy. 1 4, 2Ol 4 Increased costs in overtime pay, inmate medical expenses cause unforeseen expenses By NATALIE JOHNSON natalie@masoncoun com The cost of doing business for the Mason County Sher- iffs Office isn't going down any time soon, command staff said Monday. Increased costs in overtime pay and salary increases due to new union contracts and in- mate medical expenses led the Sheriffs Office to ask for more than $1.3 million to supple- ment its nearly $11.2 million 2014 budget. "None of these things, by anybody in this room, could have been reasonably antici- pated," Undersheriff James Barrett said during Monday's Mason County Commission briefing. "This supplemental is absolutely huge to maintain services." Mason County Commission- er Randy Neatherlin said he felt that the number of Sher- iffs Office staff and supporters in attendance at the briefing was intended to intimidate the commission. Neatherlin said he wanted to ensure that any increase to the Sheriffs Office budget should go to "officers on the street," and said staff in atten- dance at the briefing "should be out working somewhere." "I'm going to go over each and every aspect of (the re- quest) and make sure it's abso- lutely necessary," he said. The request amounts to a nearly 12 percent increase to the office's 2014 budget. Neat- herlin said if the request were approved, it would mean the Sheriffs Office budget would be 26 percent higher than the 2013 budget. Supplemental budgets can be submitted to the commis- sion if a county department incurs unanticipated costs. The county must have a pub- lic hearing before granting the requests. The commission plans to address the requests in public again in 30 days. The groups first discussed it in a briefing three weeks ago. As of Aug. 8, the Sheriffs Office had surpassed or near- ly surpassed 2014 budget on computers, legal notices, pa- trol and corrections overtime salary, court overtime, train- ing overtime, uniforms and uniform cleaning, inmate med- ical costs and other items. The largest item on the sup- plemental budget is a $416,021 request for pay increases for officers as outlined in new union contracts approved by the county commission. The request includes an additional $133,000 for command staff pay increases. The request includes $180,000 in overtime pay for patrol staff and $150,000 for overtime pay for staff at the Mason County Jail. A large number of unfilled positions in both patrol and corrections divisions have con- tributed to the overtime costs, command staff said. "Our overtime in the jail is something we can't do any- thing about," jail superinten- dent Chief Tom Haugen said. "Some of them are working 80 hours a pay period (in) over- time." Chief Deputy Russ Oster- hout told the commissioners that the Sheriffs Office recent- ly hired two deputies who are being trained. The Sheriffs Office has plans to fill four va- cant positions. The jail has seven open posi- tions, Haugen said. Jail mini- mum staffing policy, to comply with the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act, requires that male and female corrections of- ricers be on duty at all times. This leads to more overtime, because of low numbers of fe- male corrections officers, ac- cording to the Sheriffs Office's briefing to the commission. The request also includes $30,000 to perform back- ground checks on all new ap- plicants and another $30,000 to replace patrol and civil dep- uty computers. Medical costs for jail inmates account for $273,000 of the re- quest. The Sheriffs Office re- quested an additional $120,000 for Mason General Hospital bills, $115,000 for inmate nurs- ing at the jail and $38,000 for medical transportation. "Many of (the inmates) are ill. That's why our medical budget has gone out of con- trol," Haugen said. "(If) they're not healthy, we have to take care of them." More bookings at the jail have also led to increased costs. In 2012, 2,375 people were booked into the jail. In 2013, there were 2,562 bookings, and as of Aug. 5, there have been 1,548 people booked into the Mason County Jail. The jail's average population is 116 inmates, Haugen said. The supplemental request includes $73,000 for the city of Forks for additional inmate housing. The Sheriffs Office is also asking for an additional $30,000 for increased food costs for the rest of 2014. By NATALIE JOHNSON natafie@masoncounty, com The Port of Shelton is in an inter- esting predicament. At its 1,000-acre Sanderson Field property, only one building is vacant. In the 1990s, the port built eight 5,000-square-foot buildings, anticipat- ing future growth. "That was a major gamble on the port's part and it paid off," executive director John Dobson said. Now, the port commission is faced with a question. Does it construct ad- ditional buildings on demand for ex- panding companies and businesses new to the port, or does it take anoth- er gamble like the commission of the 1990s? The port's newest commissioner, Kristy Buck, thinks the latter might be the way to go. "I'm kind of a build and they will come person," she told the Mason County Journal. "I think most places looking to relocate want to do it right away." Of the 1,000 acres at Sanderson Field, 350 are reserved for airport use. Overall, only 15 percent to 20 percent of that property is being used, Dobson said. The port continues to see demand from manufacturers, industrial com- panies and, most recently, marijuana producers and processors. One of the airport's newest tenants in M&R Distributing, whose Tier 3 marijuana producer license is listed as pending with the state Liquor Control Board. The license, if granted, will al- low M&R to grow up to 21,000 feet of plant canopy. In the meantime, the company has made about $700,000 in improve- ments to the port's Sawtooth Build- ing on Sanderson Field. The building was given the name for the distinctive shape of its roof. Two other Cannabis companies are in talks to build on port land on Johns Prairie, and another two Cannabis producers are considering leasing port land, Dobson said. "We're not soliciting (to those com- panies)," Dobson said. "What the growers are realizing is they have to have utilities and water. That proper- ty was developed with heavy industry in mind." Buck said she wants to work with Commercial real estate brokers and the Economic Development Council of Mason County to market the port's properties to a larger audience. "Certainly with the Cannabis grow- ers in high demand right now, there are a lot of them looking for places to go," she said. "That's not the sole per- son I'd like to attract to the port." The port is planning to build a 22,000-square-foot building at Sand- erson field. "I think if we build the big 22,000 -square-foot building we're thinking that would free up two or three small- er buildings," Buck said. A total of 28 businesses operate at Sanderson field in buildings dating back to the 1940s. Many of the build- ings, including the Sawtooth Building, were built in the 1960s. Others were built in the 1990s. "These old buildings became a god- send,', Dobson said. Because the buildings are older, rent is cheap perfect for a startup company, he said. "Ports are really the best place for them to go," he said. Using buildings constructed 50, 60 or 70 years ago comes with challenges, Dobson said. The only building available at Sanderson Field is a small office build- ing constructed by the Army during World War II. After its previous ten- ant moved out several years ago, the port had to rid the building of asbestos before using it again. The port has also had to retrofit buildings with stormwater manage- ment systems. "One hundred percent of water that hits port ground stays on port ground," Dobson said. Lease for buildings and land on port property bring in $1.9 million in revenue each year. Two companies own their buildings but pay the port ground leases. Dob- son said it makes more financial sense for the port to own the buildings and land. Ground leases can last for a maxi- mum of 50 years, then anything on the property automatically becomes the port's property, as is required by the Federal Aviation Administration, Dobson said. Johns Prairie is available for more development now than in the pastl Dobson said. Recently, the port hooked up to the Shelton city water supply, making it more attractive and convenient for businesses, he said. "We need to do a better job of being more user-friendly than the next guy," Dobson said. "There's lots of stuff that's on the drawing board." Grain-fed U Grain-fed T-Bone IIPorterhouse Steak IlSteak Lb. Marinated Chuck Steak JI Natural, Boneless, Fresh & Meaty Skinless Came Chicken Baby Back Asada Breast Pork Ribs I Lb, .... Lb, (91.60)