Jail gets additional funds due to shortfall
Another $60,000 is being transferred to the Gage County jail fund in the wake of a budget shortfall.
The County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday approved the transfer from the county’s miscellaneous general fund. The transfer is the third since April and is driven by the high number of inmates for whom the county is responsible.
Board chairman Myron Dorn said the majority of the previous two transfers have been to cover housing inmates in other counties.
“This is again to transfer so that we can meet the obligations that came through the claim process,” he said. “$304,279 was spent as of last pay period on boarding inmates outside Gage County. The original budget had $190,000 that we approved. That’s where most of that original $120,000 that we transferred went to.”
Planning for this fiscal year’s jail budget took into account contracts the board approved last September to house inmates in other jails.
The two contracts reserve 10 beds in Washington County, Kansas and five beds in Dawson County at Lexington.
Both contracts were for one-year periods and at a rate of $45 per bed, per day, whether or not they are being used.
That amounts to $675 per day, or $246,000 per year to house inmates in other jails.
Overpopulation at the jail prompted these contracts as the number of inmates climbed to double the jail’s capacity.
Board member Erich Tiemann pointed out that though the board has now transferred an additional $180,000 to the jail budget, it was expected and is saving the county in the long run compared to not contracting for beds in other jails.
“Even though we don’t like transferring money to the jail it’s one of those things we knew about ahead of time so it’s not a surprise,” he said. “We did make those agreements. It does save money in the long run.”
Due to the high numbers, inmates were previously being housed at up to seven different counties at one time, causing transportation problems for jail workers.
Dorn said medical costs have also contributed to the budget issue.
He said those expenses are $60,000 over budget at $129,517 compared to the $60,000 that was budgeted for this fiscal year.