Dave Olson, Published April 07 2010
Possible shift in sex offender program cost worries countiesClay County has had nine sex offenders indefinitely committed to a state treatment facility at a current cost of $320 per day for each person committed.
Counties are responsible for about 10 percent of that cost. Last year, Clay County’s bill came to $82,000.
On average, about one sex offender is civilly committed in Clay County each year.
On Tuesday, the Clay County Commission was warned that under a provision that might be included in the state health and human services budget, the costs for future offenders who are civilly committed would be borne 100 percent by the county.
“This would be very much a concern for counties,” said Rhonda Porter, Clay County social services director.
Porter said the Association of Minnesota Counties has issued an alert about the potential provision.
The alert asks county officials to contact legislators to tell them the proposal “is entirely unacceptable” for a number of reasons, including the following:
- The number of sex offenders in each county in a given year is difficult to predict and therefore budget for.
- Counties have little, if any, control over whether an offender is civilly committed or released.
- The proposal authorizes the state to utilize county property taxes as if they were state revenues.