NEW: Operation of Flint city lockup secured amid funding troubles

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FLINT (WJRT) - (04/05/17) - The future of the Flint city lock-up remains in jeopardy with a potential cut in state funding.

Wednesday evening, the city's Finance Committee discussed a resolution that would allow the city to enter into an agreement with the county for the continued operation of the Flint holding facility through September 30.

What's not clear is what will happen after that.

Flint's Interim Chief Financial Officer David Sabuda says a lot can happen between now and October 1 of next year and the city plans to fight to keep it open.

Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell has also told ABC12 he plans to reach out to Governor Rick Snyder himself in hopes of getting the necessary funding levels restored in the state budget.

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(04/03/17) - The Genesee County sheriff says there is not enough money slated in the state budget to keep the Flint City Lockup open next year.

Sheriff Robert Pickell says closing it down could mean more overcrowding at the county jail and having to release non-violent criminals back on the streets.

Five years ago, state money reopened the Flint City Lockup to reduce overcrowding at the Genesee County Jail and to have a place to house people before court appearances. Before lockup was reopened, non-violent offenders would get an appearance ticket to come to court and then be released.

"The biggest losers were the people living in our community. There were more criminals out on the street and people weren't coming to court, so crime increased significantly," Pickell said.

He says those old worries are back after learning the state budget for next year doesn't include the $4.5 million to keep lockup open.

That money also runs the county's tether program and pays for inmates to be housed at other jails.

At this point, only $1 million has been appropriated from the state for next year.

"We wouldn't to be able to run lockup, we wouldn't be able to house inmates outside of the county. It would be a disastrous situation and potentially a dangerous situation for the community," Pickell said.

The state budget for next year isn't set in stone yet. Pickell fears the voting deadline if nothing changes.

He plans on contacting Governor Rick Snyder directly.

A spokesperson with the Flint Police Department released the following statement to ABC12 News:

“The City of Flint Police Department is aware of this possible change to the budget. You are correct that this is not final at this point and conversations are still occurring between the City and State on this matter. When a final determination is made, Chief Tim Johnson will make those changes necessary to ensure the most effective law enforcement operations in the City and the continued safety and security of the citizens of the city of Flint.”



 
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