Federal inmates net county $17K

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 31, 2010

The county’s contract to house federal inmates has generated just slightly more than $20,000 for the county since inmates first arrived in April.

In March, the county commission and Sheriff Dennis Meeks approved a contract with the U.S. Marshals to house federal inmates. Under the terms of the contact, there is a $45-per day, per inmate charge for housing. Of that, $7 per day will be paid to the sheriff for feeding each federal inmate. The remaining $38 per-day, per inmate, is split equally between the county general fund and the sheriff’s pistol permit fund to be used “at his discretion solely for the purpose of compensating law enforcement personnel and other staff.”

Figures released by the county administration office show that through June, U.S. Marshals had paid the county a total of $20,160.

Of that figure, $3,136 was paid for meals, leaving $8,512 each for the county general fund and the sheriff’s office.

In April, five inmates were housed a total of 75 days; in May, 18 for 243 days, and in June, nine for 130 days. Figures for July were not immediately available.

Meeks said Friday, “things are on track,” and projections are “right where they should be.”

County officials had predicted the contract, which was executed in March, would bring an estimated $100,000 in revenue to the county in 2010. Meeks said previously Marshals guaranteed five inmates per month.

“We’re housing what (the Marshals) said they’d give us,” Meeks said. “That number ranges between five and 10 per month. After the first of the year, we’re hoping that number goes up, because of course, that helps (the sheriff’s office) and the county.”

Meeks said the additional six months remaining in the year will help increase the “pay supplement” promised to sheriff’s office employees.

“There’s been no change on my end about how the money will be used,” he said. “It will be for pay supplements for the some 53 sheriff’s office employees.”

Meeks said he expects to disburse the funds in December.