MANITOWOC - Dozens of sex offenders on supervised release from the state are being put up in state-paid rental properties, and some of those rents are way above the going rate.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services oversees the sex offenders on supervised release from the state's Sand Ridge Treatment Facility in Mauston. Currently, there are 28 sex offenders in the supervised release program.
One of those offenders is put up in a 480-square-foot home in Manitowoc. And while neighbors in larger homes report paying $400 to $600 a month in rent, the state is paying $1,600 a month in rent to house the sex offender on supervised release.
The sex offender, who were not identifying, was placed in the Manitowoc home in November of 2010, and since then has cost the state - meaning taxpayers - over $40,000 in rent alone.That's more than home sold for three month before the tenant moved in.
Neighbors aren't happy about a sex offender in their neighborhood - or the fact it's costing them money every month.
"We thought it was outrageous at $1,500 and then it went to $1,600, and it's putting it mildly that it's outrageous," said Richard Kunz, who lives down the street.
And this isn't the only rental property commanding huge payments, according to DHS records. A Sand Ridge official indicates landlords are able to charge a premium based in part on the difficulty the state has in securing rental properties for sex offenders in the supervised release program.
FOX 11 brought the cost figures to State Sen. Michael Ellis (R-Neenah), who was shocked at the expense.
"Well I know it sounds ridiculous, it does, but we're going to look into it and I know we can save money," said Ellis, president of the state Senate.
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