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Fiscal Court Questions Jail Expenses

Robert Moore

Herald Staff

The Mercer County Fiscal Court want to discuss jail expenses with Boyle County. Again.

The two counties have, in one way or another, been talking about jail expenses since they joined together to build Boyle County Detention Center nearly three decades ago.

In 2018, the two counties agreed to a new division of jail expenses, reducing Mercer’s contribution. However, since then, Mercer has paid more to run the jail, even as the population at the facility has declined.

At Tuesday’s fiscal court meeting, the magistrates approved paying the Boyle County Fiscal Court $65,250 for February jail operations and $3,000 for jail administration fee.

Mercer County Judge-Executive Milward Dedman said the payments are greater than last year. While he knew the jail had increased costs due to COVID-19, he said it still seemed high.

“It just seems extreme to me,” Dedman said.

This is not the first time jail expenses have been questioned. In July, Boyle County  jailer Brian Wofford told the Danville Advocate-Messenger that the interlocal agreement violates Kentucky law and that he is no longer involved with the joint jail committee. Under the interlocal agreement, Boyle has three votes while Mercer has two.

Wofford said he was “concerned that Mercer County’s contribution to the cost of the detention center is only 27-percent yet Mercer County controls 40-percent of the votes on the joint jail committee.”

While the two counties have come to an agreement on some aspects of the dispute, Wofford has not attended a jail committee meeting since July.

Late last year, Mercer magistrates questioned  jail expenses again. At that time, some of the blame went to  Boyle County’s new treasurer, Keagan Hinkle. Hinkle, a 2015 graduate of Boyle County High School and a 2019 graduate of Georgetown College, became treasurer in 2020.

Mercer was unable to question either Wofford or Hinkle this month because the joint jail committee meeting was canceled due to the weather. Dedman said they would look into it at the next jail meeting. No date has been set for that meeting.

For more of the story, check out this week’s edition of the Harrodsburg Herald or subscribe online.

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