As the Butler County Sheriff’s Department works to run the Butler County Jail in the most efficient way possible, inmates from outside the county, including some from the U.S. Marshals, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Reno County are housed at the jail.
Butler County receives $60 a day for each federal inmate housed and $35 a day for each Reno County inmate housed.
Since Reno County is planning to construct a detention facility and will no longer need a place to keep inmates after it is completed, the Sheriff’s Department would like to accept inmates from Sedgwick County.
During Tuesday’s Butler County Commission meeting, representatives from the Sheriff’s Department brought before the commission a year-long contract that would allow the jail, which has a capacity of 230, to house inmates from Sedgwick County.
Sedgwick County has housed inmates in Butler County before.
“We housed for them about a year and a half ago,” said the Sheriff’s Department Business Manager Dennis Phillips. “That ended in December 2011. We notified them we needed a rate increase, they wouldn’t pay and they pulled all their inmates out.”
At that time, Sedgwick County was paying $30 a day per inmate, and Butler County had requested an increase to $35.
Several commissioners expressed concern the contract Phillips presented on Tuesday was for $30 a day.
“I’m good for $30 a day until January 1,” said Commissioner Dan Woydziak. “Then we’re going to do some serious negotiation.”
Phillips responded that Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter has been before the Sedgwick County Commission to discuss this issue.
“He explained $30 a day isn’t enough,” said Phillips.
However, since Sedgwick County’s 2013 budget is already set, $30 a day is the amount Easter is allowed to pay.
“Our fixed costs are so high it does benefit us at $30 a day,” said Phillips.
According to Phillips, operating costs are around $64 a day per inmate (which includes fixed expenses) if the jail is full.
The Sheriff’s Department is willing to accept $30 a day from Sedgwick County right now because other jurisdictions, such as Wyandotte County and the Kansas Department of Corrections, no longer house inmates in Butler County. Phillips figures it would be better to receive $30 a day than to receive nothing. After covering the daily expenses for each inmate, there would be $18.58 of the $30 a day that could be applied toward fixed operating costs.
Phillips said Butler County would agree to accept up to 40 inmates from Sedgwick County.
Page 2 of 2 - Commissioners Woydziak, Ed Myers and Peggy Palmer questioned why the contract for $30 a day couldn’t have a Jan. 1, 2014 end date.
Phillips responded his recommendation would be to sign the contract as written, since some other changes he had suggested had met with some resistance.
“I would go ahead and sign this like it is,” continued Phillips. “I will notify them if they’re not amenable to raise the rates to $35 (in 2014), they’re going to get a termination notice.”
The motion to approve the contract as written passed 3-2 with Commissioners Woydziak, Mike Wheeler and Jeff Masterson in favor and Commissioners Myers and Palmer opposed.
In other business, the commissioners:
• approved a resolution authorizing the sale of general obligation bonds, set the bonds purchase date of June 18, 2013, approved the underwriting agreement with Central States Capital to proceed with a negotiated sale and approved the fiduciary engagement letter with George K. Baum.
• received a presentation from Brenda Nyberg of the Soil Conservation District.
• approved the service/maintenance agreement with Philips Healthcare for equipment for the EMS Department.
• approved the SFY 2014 block grant conditions for the Juvenile Justice Services Administration.
• approved the re-designation agreement and fiscal agreement with the Wichita Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.
• approved a proposal for asphalt pavement surface seal treatment for Paul’s Valley Third Addition.
• approved a proposed asphalt surface rehabilitation and sealing work for SW Butler Road between Andover and Rose Hill.
• approved a proposal for profile milling the north 5 miles of NW River Valley Road as part of the planned reclamation and double chip seal work.
• authorized staff to proceed with right-of-way acquisition work related to the Four Mile Creek bridge replacement project on SW Butler Road.
• appointed Mike Murphy to the Fire District #3 Board.
• held a work session to discuss capital improvement projects.