Council Wrestles With Jail Expenses

Starke County Justice CenterThe Starke County Council has scheduled a special meeting to try to get a handle on expenses related to jail operations. They deferred Sheriff Bill Dulin’s request for an additional appropriation until they can take a closer look at things like utility costs for the building. It’s been open for a year, and extensive studies were done beforehand to project costs. The council should have findings from an energy audit in time for their scheduled June 13th meeting. It will take place at 5:30 p.m. at the annex building.

A recent change from paid overtime to comp time for full-time jail employees should also save money, but the council noted that won’t help when it comes to part-time hours. Another expense involves the transportation of inmates from the jail east of Knox to the Starke County Courthouse or Knox City Court for proceedings. Depending on the court schedule, more than one jail officer may be required for such trips. The council questioned why the new courtroom at the justice center isn’t used more to reduce travel.

The county is receiving money from the state for Department of Correction employees housed in the therapeutic community program, but payments are a few months in arrears. When money comes in, it goes into the county general fund and must be transferred into the sheriff’s budget in order to be used.