Mt. Vernon Register-News

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April 2, 2013

Budget discussion gets heated

(Continued)

"If we can take money from Pile A that's not committed to anything, that's for public safety to help offset. Do I say we keep hiring people, no, I'm not saying that. I didn't mean to create any antagonism here," the sheriff said.

"You've just unbundled a major problem by even bringing that up or suggesting it," White countered. "How long has the union eyed that fund? And now you're saying publicly you have just put us all on point to have to release all that money."

The Public Safety Fund has about $1.5 million in its coffers, although when it was passed by the voters in a referendum several years ago it was intended to help pay down the debt of the new jail, according to local officials.

Treasurer Dan Knox reported the county still has approximately $238,000 in claims to be paid for February and March, although that figure includes $24,102 that were to be released on Monday. Knox also produced four-month averages for the county in revenues versus expenses. The county had an average of $882,940 in revenues and $919,304 in expenses, leaving a $36,365 deficit. The monthly average shortfall stands at $42,390. Knox reported the county will still be approximately $70,880 in the red at the end of April based on the county's anticipated expenses this month.

Meanwhile, a jail official reported some somewhat good news. Following conversations with Advance Healthcare Corrections — the vendor the county contracted with for medical services related to the housing of ICE detainees — it was revealed an inspection of the Justice Center may be forthcoming.

"They told me they would have all of our policies completed this week so I called Ricardo Long who is the director of the office of detention removal with immigration and he said he would be contacting the immigration medical supervisor to come and do the initial inspection of our facility," said Randy Pollard of the sheriff's office. "After that initial inspection of our facility we will receive detainees back and then we'll have another inspection 90 days out from that date. I can't say how many detainees we'll get back but I'm eager to find out what this date will be when we get this inspection."

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