Starke County Officials to Discuss Jail Operating Costs

Starke County Justice CenterThe Starke County Council and Commissioners will meet in special session this evening to discuss the sheriff department budget. Last month the council deferred Sheriff Bill Dulin’s request for an additional appropriation until they can get a handle on expenses at the justice center. The new jail has been open for about a year, and budgeted operating costs were based on an actuarial study done for the county.

Results of an energy audit of the building should be available tonight. 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 inmates 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.

This evening’s meeting is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. or at the conclusion of an executive session meeting to discuss the hospital lease. Both will take place at the annex building.