Butler County Times Gazette
  • Commissioners discuss excess revenue at jail

  • The Butler County Jail is ending the year with a cash balance of $960,000.
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  • The Butler County Jail is ending the year with a cash balance of $960,000.
    It was only anticipated they have about $110,000 to transfer to the jail reserve fund, but because of the number of inmates this year, they are way ahead of budget.
    Despite the good year this year, that may not continue going forward.
    “We were extremely fortunate this year,” said Dennis Phillips, sheriff's department business manager. “We may or may not be fortunate going into next year.”
    He said the number of inmates needing housing has reduced by more than half since five years ago. In addition, on Jan. 31 the Kansas Department of Corrections is taking all of their prisoners out of other facilities. Currently the Butler County Jail houses 20 KDOC prisoners.
    It also is expected the number of federal inmates will drop and ICE inmates have already dropped. Those are the ones who bring revenue into the jail.
    “The housing (of inmates) market is very competitive,” Phillips said.
    The only entity that is housing large numbers of inmates in other facilities is Sedgwick County.
    “The other reason inmate count has come down is courts decided housing people who smoke marijuana doesn’t make a lot of sense – a lot are now using electronic monitoring or serving weekends,” he said.
    Commissioner Peggy Palmer questioned why there was such a discrepancy in the budgeted and actual revenue.
    “This year we doubled our federal inmates,” Phillips said. “We averaged almost 100 this year. That’s a $3,000 a day increase through the efforts of the undersheriff and his staff at the jail. We’ve been extremely fortunate. We would never have believed we could have had this kind of revenue.”
    Jail staff actively recruited bringing the inmates to the jail.
    They do want to keep the money in reserves for future expenses.
    “The jail will be 10 years old next year and as far as we know all the equipment there is the original equipment,” Phillips said.
    The cost to replace that includes $87,000 for all of the equipment in the kitchen, $90,000 worth of equipment in the laundry and equipment in the medical clinic.
    There also are such things as the half of the roof that was not repaired before, boilers and the heating and air unit.
    “We have over a half a million dollars in equipment and repairs that we know we are going to have to do sometime in the future,” he said.
    County staff are recommending transferring $200,000 to the self insurance fund to start to build up that reserve.
    Page 2 of 2 - A public hearing will be held Dec. 31 on amending the jail fund.

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