More state offenders will be working to clean Macons streets under a contract for which Macon City Council suspended its rules to approve in one vote.
The resolution allows the city to hire seven crews for $39,500 each for a year, and $32,920 for one crew for 10 months, a total of $309,420.
Its a renewal of six existing prison details and one new prison detail for the Grounds Division, no changes to the contract, Public Works Director Richard Powell said via email.
The city has been using prison work details for several years to pick up litter and mow rights-of-way on city streets.
The crews are needed to help maintain public property, according to the resolution.
Each work detail provided will have a maximum of 10 offenders as well as one full-time correctional officer, the contract says. On average, though, each crew usually has eight workers, Powell said. The money is to pay the state officer who accompanies them, a bargain for the city, he said.
Without these crews, a lot of work would go undone, unless we hire more employees, Powell said. If we had to hire eight new workers, the cost would be $178,000 a year plus benefits. With this program we get more work done for our money.
The city agrees to pick up the work detail from the McEver Probation Detention Center in Perry, take offenders to and from the work sites and supply all tools and safety gear, according to the contract. The crews will work four days a week, 10 hours a day, with up to three weeks off for the officer. The renewed agreement is in effect until June 30, 2014.
It needed swift council approval because the contract arrived later in the year than usual, and the new crew was already prepared to start work, Powell said.
He said all the prisoners used are nonviolent offenders. According to the Georgia Department of Corrections website, probation detention centers like the one in Perry are the lowest level of incarceration, often used for prisoners in transition.
Offenders may be sent directly to the center as a sentencing option or if they prove unable to fulfill their probation obligations in the community, may be sent to the detention center as a result of a revocation proceeding, according to the website.
To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.