Mt. Vernon Register-News


April 2, 2013

Budget discussion gets heated


Mulch said the purpose of the assessment is to make sure procedures are in place and it's being followed.

"They check things, kind of hit and miss, and then we get detainees, immediate. Then 90 days later they do a full inspection to make sure everything is working like it should," he said.

County officials noted there are currently three detainees being held by the U.S. Marshal's Office. The county has had no ICE detainees since last December when they were withdrawn by federal officials because of medical issues.

Local officials have estimated it will take at least 90 days before the county will be able to see an improvement in cash flow when ICE detainees return to the Justice Center.

When ICE prisoners are returned, the county will have to deal with additional personnel expenses. It was estimated if the county receives 50 ICE detainees, at least 14 correctional officers will need to be recalled.

"If we get one, 15 or 30, we'll spend at least $50,000 per month in personnel expenses," White estimated. "That means you'll do that for two straight months and then you should start seeing ICE revenue coming back in."

Board member Jim Laird said the only way the county can make reductions is by cutting staff.

"I hate to say it, but the cuts will probably have to come from the sheriff's department. I can't see how we can cut any more employees at the courthouse. If that's the case, is there any 'what ifs?'

"We'll cut what we have to, what we're told to cut. In my division, that's where the citizens do without," Mulch said.

White said every officeholder has wants, adding, "Once we get done with this cutting there's going to be people with real needs. Right now people are doing without certain needs but they can get through the interim."

White announced there will be a special Board meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday "to address this further and to make a determination on what we have to cut now and deal with the realities right now. We've got to consider wherever we can cut, we've got to cut. There is no room for error here. We've got to get it done."

Text Only

Local Photo