Mercer County Overpaid $108,000 in Regional Jail Costs

 

Mercer County overpaid a little over $108,000 for jail operations during the 2016-17 fiscal year. That’s according to numbers provided by Boyle County Treasurer Mary Conley at the joint jail committee on Friday.

Mercer officials have been complaining for months that they are paying more than their fair share into Boyle County Detention Center (BCDC).

The interlocal jail agreement divides jail costs according to the percentage of inmates each county contributes. Boyle pays 65-percent of the costs while Mercer pays 35-percent of the costs.

If Mercer’s percentage of the jail population increases, the amount the county would pay would also increase. However, the agreement sets a floor on those costs, meaning Mercer cannot pay less than 35-percent.

Mercer’s inmate percentage for the 2016-17 fiscal year was 29-percent, both counties agree. Mercer Judge-Executive Milward Dedman and County Attorney Ted Dean say the imbalance has existed for several years in a row.

Last year, Mercer paid $712,749.49. If they had paid the amount equivalent to the percentage of Mercer inmates at BCDC, they would have paid $570,199.08, or $142,000 less, according to Conley’s figures.

Boyle officials have argued that they pay for jail expenses that Mercer does not, and that this is more than what Mercer has been overpaying.

However, according to Conley’s numbers, Boyle County’s expenses only amounted to $34,323.55, leaving a difference of more than $108,000.

Boyle officials suggested that, if their county’s road department handled the recommended repairs to the jail inhouse, that would reduce the discrepancy.

Dean asked Conley to come up with a similar cost estimate for what Boyle pays to transport the county’s prisoners to court. Mercer pays its own court transport costs, but Boyle pays for theirs from the joint jail fund.

Dean and Dedman said they would take the information back to the Mercer Fiscal Court for further review.

To learn more, check out this week’s issue of The Harrodsburg Herald.

 

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