Top Ten: work camps

Apalachicola’s Bay City Work Camp. Photo available for purchase

Apalachicola’s Bay City Work Camp.

David Adlerstein
Published: Monday, December 30, 2013 at 02:39 PM.

Bad news landed in the county’s lap in July with the announcement the Bay City Work Camp in Apalachicola would close.

Christopher Atkins, warden of Carrabelle’s Franklin Correctional Institution (FCI), which oversees Bay City, said the Florida Department of Corrections is running a multi- million dollar deficit, and that other camps would be closing as well to help stanch the red ink.

The Bay City inmates, of which there were 282 as of June 2011, are “moving to brand new camps with lower operating costs,” he said. ““Nobody will be losing their job. We are hiring more staff for an additional dorm at FCI and there will be promotion opportunities.”

The DOC also closed facilities in Brevard and Glades counties, and opened work camps in Union, Liberty and FCI. The closure of Bay City, and the opening of the new FCI work camp, would gain between 10 and 14 additional jobs. Bay City employed about 67 correctional officers, as of March 2011.

County Commission Chair Cheryl Sanders noted the county had written several letters asking Bay City not be closed.

The biggest concern over the closure was voiced at the Apalachicola city commission meeting, when City Administrator Betty Taylor Webb said the city received $134,000 in water and sewer revenue from Bay City during the 2012-13 fiscal year. “It’s going to be a really tough budget year,” she said.

A reverter clause in place when the county first gave the land to the state in 1989 would mean the land and buildings would be deeded back to the county once the closure was complete.

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