Jail budget takes brunt of county’s budget cuts

By Sara Seidel, Staff Writer

As sales and use tax revenues hold steady in Ray County, the county’s general revenue expenditures must be adjusted, and for one county facility – the jail – that means steep cuts.
For 2013, while most county offices are operating under budgets similar to the previous year, the jail’s budget has been cut about 40 percent, according to Ray County Presiding Commissioner Bob King.
In reviewing the jail’s budget last fall, King said expenditures were considerably higher than anticipated revenue. Housing inmates from outside the county was the culprit.
Last year, the jail’s budget totaled $1,322,364; this year, the commission cut that total to $794,961, King said. The difference, $527,403, is coming chiefly from cutting back the number of out-of-county inmates at the facility, which is located in Henrietta.
“The commission, (former Sheriff) Sam Clemens and I decided to cut back on the amount of prisoners,” said Sheriff Garry Bush.
Capable of holding about 225 inmates, the facility had been housing about 165 at any given time. About 60 of those inmates were being held for the Ray County Sheriff’s Department or for municipal police departments in Ray County, Bush said.
Many of the rest were inmates from Independence, Grain Valley, Buckner and other nearby cities. In adjusting the jail’s housing practices, the county is no longer taking in inmates from most of those entities.
Financial concerns arose at the jail when costs to house those out-of-county inmates exceeded revenues generated by providing the service. The county charged a flat daily rate of $30 for male and $35 for female inmates housed for outside entities.
Bush said that in the past, those fees covered jail costs and even made money for the county.
More recently, however, several factors made the practice unfeasible.

The complete story is in the June 3, 2013 edition of the Richmond News.

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