Sheriff estimates jail operating costs to top $3 million
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
The cost to operate the new Morgan County Jail for the remaining eight months of the fiscal year could run as high as $3 million if a proposed budget request presented by Sheriff Greg Bartlett is approved by the Morgan County Commission.
The request was tabled at a regular meeting Monday. It was the subject of a work session and an adjourned meeting on Wednesday. This meeting occurred after presstime.
Bartlett's request for additional operating revenue is divided into two parts. The first calls for the employment of 122 additional personnel from Feb. 1 through Sept. 30 at a cost in salary alone of $1.3 million. With other expenses included, the total is $2.977 million. The second proposal calls for 102 additional employees for the same period at a cost of $928,322. That figure would bring the total expenses to $2.38 million.
Bartlett told the commission he wants to begin the process of hiring and training jail personnel right away. He stressed the need for an amended budget this week in order to meet a court-mandated June 1 target date to get the new jail open.
He also said he is pursuing an agreement with the federal court system to use unneeded space in the new facility for the housing of inmates awaiting federal court trials. He estimated that housing 50 federal prisoners a year would generate approximately $750,000.
District Four Commissioner Stacy George said he wants to hear two concerns addressed before he votes to approve the amended budget.
"I want to know if the Sheriff's food money and overtime are going to multiply with the opening of the jail to federal court inmates?" he asked.
The commission acted on other matters as follows: