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Fiscal court approves jail budget

By Anthony Cloud acloud@civitasmedia.com

March 13, 2014

The Bell County Jail budget for fiscal year 2014-2015 was presented and approved during the regular fiscal court meeting on Tuesday.


The total jail fund came in at $1,393,301.


The majority of the money or $978,278, is appropriated to protection to person and property.


Of the money appropriated to protection to person and property, $435,000 goes to jail personnel and $190,000 goes toward food.


Only $71,891 of the total jail budget goes toward debt services, which is a lease payment.


According to Bell County Judge-Executive Albey Brock, the fiscal court is required to present the jail budget earlier than the normal budget because of the cost jails incur on the county government and the burden they represent.


The official budget will not be out until June.


“So many of these counties that have new jails are struggling,” said Brock. “They are laying off police officers in a lot of these counties. A lot of fiscal courts are having to cut their sheriff’s budget and that can directly be attributed to their jail budgets blowing up.”


The jail budget only increased $40,000. Brock said that is a small amount compared to the budget as a whole.


“When you look at our neighbors that have new jails, they’re seeing $300,000 and $400,000 increases and no revenue,” said Brock. “New jails are ultimately going to be the end of some of these counties, but they won’t be the end of this county.”


“We’re managing fine. It may not be the nicest facility in the world granted, but it’s jail. It’s not a motel.”


The fiscal court also approved the Bell County Detention Center policy and procedures manual for 2014. There were no changes to the manual.


In other business, the court:


* Approved minutes of the previous meeting;


* Paid bills and approved necessary transfers;


* Accepted the treasurer’s financial statement from the previous month;


* Accepted the sheriff’s claim sheet for the fee account for the previous month.


Anthony Cloud can be reached at 606-248-1010, ext. 1125 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN.