Boyle Jail posts $741,000 yearly loss

August 11, 2003|ANN R. HARNEY

HARRODSBURG - The cost of running the Boyle County Detention Center and the debt service on the loans to build the facility were almost three-quarters of a million dollars more than the jail took in during the last fiscal year.

Members of the joint jail committee were given those figures at the committee's regular monthly meeting Friday. The loss amounted to $741,188 and was paid for by contributions from both counties.

The lockup is in Danville, but its costs are paid jointly by Boyle and Mercer counties. How much each county pays is based on a formula determined by the percentage of inmates from each county. During the 2002-2003 fiscal year, Mercer County's share was 35 percent, but it is 36 percent for the 2003-2004 fiscal year. Consequently, Boyle County pays 64 percent this year.

During the previous fiscal year, jail revenues exceeded jail costs only one month of the year. In the remaining 11 months, losses exceeded revenues. Expenses for the year were $1.69 million while revenues were $954,150.


For two years after the new facility opened, it operated in the black, often with surpluses.

Mercer County Attorney Douglas Greenburg said the construction of a state juvenile facility in London has drastically cut the number of juveniles that used to be housed in the Danville lockup. The jail also housed more convicted state Class D felons, but other counties were encouraged to build new facilities and the per diem payment by the state dropped as state prisoners were spread out to all counties with jails that can handle them.

When the jail was planned, officials said its cost would be met by grants and per diem payments to the jail for inmates and juveniles from outside the two counties.

To make up the losses, each county's government has contributed General Fund money to pay the costs of running the jail. Boyle County contributed $435,150 and Mercer County's contributions totaled $257,350. With the surplus of $137,286, that left $88,597 in the checking account balance.

It seems unlikely that the jail's financial condition will improve. The deficit for July 2003 was $234,940. Boyle County contributed $99,560 and Mercer County contributed $56,002 to make up the difference.

Boyle County Treasurer Mary Lynn explained that the costs for July were higher than usual because six months of water costs were paid that month. She said that the way the county's bills are paid do not coincide with the city's billing for water and if the committee cannot pay within 10 days of the bill, it is charged a late fee.

City officials will not deduct the finance charge, Lynn said. The county pays bills every two weeks and sometimes the due date for paying the water bill falls within those 14 days. She said the city would write off the late fee when Ed Music was city manager, but managers that succeeded Music have declined to write off those fees.

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