Inmate labor in Williston?

The town of Williston's proposed budget for fiscal year 2013-14 includes water rate increases, the use of inmate labor, an additional police officer and privatizing garbage collection.
The budget projects $1.92 million in general fund revenue and expenditures. Projected expenses for next year are $22,000 less than the current year.
The budget gives all full-time town employees an extra $600 and all part-time employees an extra $300. Whether they get the extra money in a salary increase or bonuses is still to be decided.
The maintenance department budget includes the use of four inmates from the Lower Savannah Work Release Center in Aiken. The cost of the inmates is $15 a day per inmate ($60 a day for four) and they would replace four workers the town hires for the months of April through September.
The inmates would have a supervisor and would cost $15,000 a year compared with the $40,000 the town pays four workers for six months of work. Inmates would work year round, doing everything from mowing grass to oil changes in the town garage. The town would be liable for any injuries an inmate suffers while working, Interim Town Administrator Roger LeDuc said.
LeDuc said the program has been successful in Aiken. He did say there were a couple of instances where inmates tried to escape, but they were quickly caught.
Inmates who participate in the program are normally within a year or two of their release, LeDuc said.
"I think you're going to be much better off in the long run," he said
Council will have to vote to approve the use of inmates.
Next year, the town administrator position will become part-time instead of full time. The administrator will make about $50,000 a year, saving the town over $20,000.
Kenneth Cook is currently working as assistant town administrator. Plans are for him to take over for LeDuc by the end of the year.
The budget reflects a decrease in garbage collection costs by privatizing the service, which council will also have to vote on. The sanitation department's budget includes $118,000 for contracted labor. LeDuc predicts privatizing garbage collection can save $35,000 a year.
If council decides not to privatize, the $10 monthly garbage fee residents currently pay will have to increase as much as $3. With privatization, it will not increase, LeDuc said
The police department is projected to get $65,000 to hire a ninth police officer, buy equipment for that officer and purchase a new car. Additional funding will be used to start a cadet or reserve officer program.
With an additional officer, town officials plan to have two officers on duty for every shift.
"A ninth officer should help reduce overtime," LeDuc said.
The town plans to spend $40,000 on laptops and wireless equipment for police vehicles. This will let officers look up information quicker and increase efficiency, LeDuc said.
The water and sewer budget reflects a 5 percent rate increase in both base and consumption rates, which council would have to vote on. LeDuc said the town is charging customers 20 percent less than other towns of similar size across the state.
Williston has not increased water and sewer rates in over five years.
The five percent increase means the average homeowner would see their bill increase $1.50 a month, LeDuc said.
LeDuc recommended council do a one time 10 percent increase instead of multiple increases over several years.
Council members and all the department heads were able to give their input in developing the budget, LeDuc said.
The first reading of the budget will be June 10.