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Jail Costs Go Up Even As Jail Population Goes Down

Mercer County Fiscal Court Reviews New $4.6-Million Jail Budget

Robert Moore

Herald Staff

The Mercer County Fiscal Court was presented with the $4.6-million budget for the Boyle County Detention Center.

There was no vote taken on the budget, but County Attorney Ted Dean wanted magistrates to be aware of several things.

“There is a lot of stuff to think about,” Dean said.

He said the budget does not include $36,000 in administration fees that Mercer agreed to start paying Boyle when the two counties renegotiated the interlocal agreement last year. Formerly, Mercer was required to pay at least 35 percent of jail expenses. The amended agreement dropped that to 27-percent.

However, Dean warned magistrates not to expect a lot in the way of savings under  the amended agreement. Several times last year, the jail population was well over 400, but both counties have worked to reduce the number of inmates. On Tuesday, there were 205 inmates in the jail.

“We have a marked decline in the jail population,” Dean said. But as the jail population declines, Mercer’s share of the inmate population is increasing.

“Our percentage will most likely go up,” Dean said.

Even though the two counties retired the bond  service on the jail earlier this year, expenses were still continuing to increase.  Under the new budget, the per diem—the amount paid to keep an inmate in jail for one day—is $46.34. However, the per diem set by the state is only $31.

The next meeting of the Mercer County Fiscal Court will be Tuesday, April 9, at 10 a.m. at the Mercer County Fiscal Courthouse (207 W. Lexington Street).

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

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