Wildwood to pay $57,000 for prison labor for city’s landscaping

Wildwood officials hope inmates can help with the city’s tremendous responsibility for mowing and landscaping.

With these tasks, which range from the maintenance of the extensive Millennium Park to the small city-owned cemetery, there are now 32 employees, said Mayor Ed Wolf.

The commissioners on Monday approved a three-year renewable contract with the Florida Department of Corrections to provide the city with a work force of up to 10 detainees under supervision.

The annual cost to the city is approximately $ 57,000, including $ 54,000 for the guard’s salary. Additionally, there will be an additional $ 2,225 training fee for the first year.

Construction manager Jeremy Hockenbury will manage the contract for the city while clerk / finance director Cassandra Smith will handle the payments.

Wildwood will provide communications equipment such as car radios, handheld radios, and cell phones that are tuned to the department’s frequency. The devices will be returned to the city after the end of the contract.

“The intention of this contract is for the work team to communicate with the facility at all times,” says the contract.

Private contractors employed by the city are not allowed to use inmates as part of their labor. Wildwood will be responsible for obtaining any licenses or permits necessary to complete the work.

City manager Jason McHugh said Wildwood is also working on getting certified by the correction department to run inmate workgroups without guarding.

Florida is one of a handful of states, mostly in the south, that use unpaid prison labor to support local governments and nonprofits.

Nationwide, around 3,500 inmates will be assigned tasks such as landscaping, construction, building maintenance, wastewater treatment and garbage disposal.

Inmates will also be assigned to work on street staff for the Florida Department of Transportation, which is estimated to have spent approximately $ 67 million on prison labor over the five years to 2019.

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