The proposed budget also will be discussed by Mercer County Fiscal Court in the near future. The two fiscal courts are expected to vote on the budget in the next few weeks.
The annual state allotment to Boyle County for next fiscal year is expected to total $110,000, compared with the $137,000 it received this fiscal year. Mercer County's state allotment is estimated at $55,000 for 2009-10, down from $71,000 this fiscal year.
The decrease in state allotments to both counties between this fiscal year and last fiscal year is the largest in many years. From fiscal 2003-04 through 2007-08, the allotments had been around $137,000 for Boyle and from $51,000 to $75,000 for Mercer.
But the significant decline in the amount the jail receives from the state for housing state prisoners is what's giving the two counties the most painful punch in their financial gut.
The budget for next fiscal year anticipates total income for state Class D felons to be $375,000, down from the $500,000 in this fiscal year's budget. From fiscal 2005-06 through fiscal 2007-08, income from state prisoners ranged from $580,000 to $611,000.
State funds for Class C felons is budgeted at $250,000 for next fiscal year, a decrease of $50,000 from what was budgeted for this fiscal year. In fiscal 2007-08, the state paid more than $400,000 for Class C felons housed at the jail.
Meanwhile, the two counties are having to chip in more money as the state funds decrease.
Boyle Fiscal Court will spend about $950,000 on jail operations next fiscal year, an increase of nearly $200,000 over the $756,000 it is projected to pay out this fiscal year. It spent about $580,000 in fiscal years 2006-07 and 2007-08.
Mercer Fiscal Court will contribute more than $511,000 to the jail next fiscal year, compared to the $444,000 it is projected to spend this fiscal year and the $388,000 and $302,000 it spent the two fiscal years before this one.
"When it gets to the point where we're spending nearly $1 million of our county's taxpayers' money on the jail, and Mercer is paying more than a half million dollars, it becomes a significant financial issue for both counties," said Magistrate John Hudson. "It is something we are required to do, but it is getting to be a major financial burden."
McKinney and Jailer Barry Harmon suggested ways to lighten the burden.
McKinney said he and Boyle and Mercer courts should aggressively lobby the state Corrections Cabinet to send more state prisoners to the Boyle jail.
The judge-executive also said the two courts should see if counties with jails that are possibly facing closure because they don't meet state standards would "partner" with Boyle and Mercer counties and send their prisoners to the Boyle jail.
Harmon said the jail budget has been hit by two major blows - the end of a state grant that helped pay off the jail's debt and the beginning of a trend where the state is giving early release to more and more state prisoners and also furloughing an increasing number of state inmates.
"The state has early released and furloughed more than 2,000 inmates over the last several months statewide," he said.
Harmon said a state jail inspector recently told him there are several substandard county jails that might be closed.
The inspector also said that many of the state prisoners that are being released early are repeat offender types who likely will be re-arrested for new crimes and returned to the state correctional system.
On Tuesday, the Boyle jail's population included 124 Boyle inmates, 73 Mercer inmates and 59 state inmates.