Letters to the Editor

Setting the record, my opponent straight

There were a number of inaccurate "fact" statements made in a letter by Michelle Binetti, City Council Candidate, published in the Oct. 25 Auburn Reporter. Those inaccuracies deserve a response with the true facts about the City of Auburn's involvement in the new regional jail.

She could have researched her statements instead of parroting the false budget numbers put out by other candidates' campaigns. She would have found that instead of the "fact" where she claimed "the actual daily costs of keeping people in jail is now 50 percent higher than before," that the true fact is that the City is paying less than before.

Until the new jail was built, most of Auburn's criminals were sent to the Yakima jail and to the King County jail because the City Hall basement jail is far too small. It was built in the 1970s with a capacity for 35 prisoners a day but there were over 100 people serving sentences from the Auburn Municipal Court each day. When Yakima raised its costs significantly and King County decided to stop accepting people convicted of misdemeanors (for example, driving violations and domestic violence), the new jail was built by a group of cities.

If Ms. Binetti had researched her statements, she would have found that her "fact" that "the City incurred 30 years of bond payments of approximately 3 million dollars a year for a new jail," is not accurate. The City will actually pay 1.5 million dollars a year.

The bottom line however, is that when everything related to keeping Auburn's criminals in jail is accounted for, including daily costs, the cost of bonds and the cost of operating the Municipal Court, the City will save more than 3 million dollars a year compared to before the new jail was built.

As a member of the current Auburn City Council, I always study the issues and make my decisions based upon factual information, not upon inaccurate statements put out by others.

– Rich Wagner, Auburn City Council candidate

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