In the externalities department, the Brown County Commission’s discussion of how to pay public defenders reveals one of the costs the public will bear if/when New Angus reopens the notorious Northern Beef Packers slaughterhouse. Attorney Scott Kuck, who is among the six lawyers currently contracted by Brown County for court-appointed work, said the beef plant means more work for the courts:
“We did some pretty thorough research on what it was costing and what was getting paid out. Another thing is, just two Mondays ago, we got 21 court appointments in one day. That is without the beef plant opening up. And I’m not making any judgments about the beef plant, but when it was open before, the amount of casework coming out of there increased significantly,” Kuck said [Shannon Marvel, “Cost Worries Drive Switch to Attorney Voucher System in Brown County,” Aberdeen American News, 2015.10.14].
Oh, Scott, you are making a judgment, and I thank you for doing so.
How many other new businesses bring with them a noticeable uptick in court activity and the need for public defenders? If an economic development project is worth enormous state investment, as was the case with Northern Beef Packers, shouldn’t we expect that project to create jobs that will allow employees to cover their own legal bills?
New Angus announced its hiring drive in August. We await its opening… as do our lawyers and courts.