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City Council heard a presentation Tuesday night on the feasibility of transferring the operation of the Adult Detention Center to the Sheriff’s Office, which operates the city jail.
The presentation was made by Practical Solutions for Public Safety, a South Carolina-based consulting firm with whom the City contracted to assess the feasibility of consolidating the management of the detention center and jail and recommend an approach that would work.
According to the study, the initial primary benefit was considered to be the potential additional revenue from the Virginia State Compensation Board. The Sheriff’s Office is a Constitutional office with salaries mostly covered by the State Compensation Board.
However, the study found that if the management of the jail and detention center were consolidated, efficiencies could potentially save the City more than $1.6 million annually and 12 full-time equivalent staff while still maintaining the same level of service.
If City Council were to authorize the consolidation, then City Manager Ken Larking said he would recommend that no employee be negatively impacted.
“From day one, our recommendation has been to not negatively impact an employee of the City of Danville through any transition that may or may not occur,” Larking said.
The consolidation study started about a year ago following a five-year financial report in 2018 that showed Danville faces a structural budget deficit that would exhaust reserve funds as early as the fiscal year 2024, which would be the period between July 1, 2023, and June 30, 2024.
“We are not in a crisis mode when it comes to making a decision,” Larking said. “We are looking at opportunities to save money where we can in a proactive way, but because we are not in a crisis mode, that means we do not have to make draconian decisions such as laying off employees or changing the status of employees.”
In the presentation last night, the consulting firm recommended an incremental approach to meet human needs while pursuing consolidation over an extended period. The firm also recommended the implementation of a criminal justice coordinating council that could assist with the transition.
The adult detention center is a minimum-security work prison, which houses, on average, 160 male inmates per day.
In other matters, City Council voted to: