May 22, 2013, KNDU News
The Port of Kennewick says several revitalization efforts to save taxpayers money are proving successful.
After allowing the Tri-City Regional SWAT team to hold destructive training exercises on the vacant Chieftain Motel apartments, the port maintenance staff was able to knock down and demolish nine of the buildings.
Once the buildings had been torn down, Coyote Ridge Corrections Center work crews helped the port staff to pick up the remaining debris. The crews were also able to salvage and recycle 27 tons of concrete, ultimately keeping the material out of local landfills.
The port says the cost of hiring contracting workers for demolition and clean up would have cost nearly $58,000. Instead, by using port maintenance staff and Coyote Ridge crews, the actual expense was just over $35,000, saving taxpayers more than $22,000.
For the past few years, top citizen suggestions for state budgeting have been to put inmate crews to work to save taxpayers money, and the port agrees. The Port of Kennewick has been using inmate crews for the past ten years. Two work crews made up of non-violent offenders from the Coyote Ridge Corrections Center work four days a week, under close supervision of Coyote Ridge Personnel, helping to clean and maintain port properties.
“We can hire a six-person crew for $8.70 per hour for the entire team,” stated Tim Arntzen, port executive director. “We’re not only providing the inmates a chance to be outdoors and productive, we’re saving taxpayers thousands of dollars each year and providing a higher level of maintenance for the public.”