RACINE COUNTY - County executive candidate Ken Hall on Saturday called for a systematic approach to reducing the Racine County Jail's operating costs.
Hall, a county supervisor, was reacting to a story in which Racine County Sheriff Chris Schmaling said he was offended by Hall being quoted as saying no attempt has been made to reduce the jail budget.
But Hall said he and Schmaling were talking about different things.
"The sheriff did not attend the forum, so his comments are based on hearsay," Hall said.
He said the jail expansion was done without a thorough look at how it was being used.
Hall faces Racine County Register of Deeds Jim Ladwig in Tuesday's election.
"I was talking about the use of the jail - use had never been looked at systematically," Hall said. "I'm not out to pick on the jail; I'm talking about deeper structural issues."
Hall said the jail expansion increased its capacity by 32 percent but "remains empty after five years, even as the state eliminates rentals and local taxpayers are stuck with the bill."
He said the county should do what other communities are doing with nonviolent offenders to reduce jail population and therefore expenses.
"I'm talking about a different level of savings," he said.