By Carra Higgins
Summers County commissioners are hopeful a $90,000 increase to the jail fund and successful grant application to fund a community corrections program will get the county out of the red.
Commissioners approved Friday a $2,990,199 budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, which begins July 1. The amount is a $262,262 increase over the current fiscal year budget, which is expected to be around $90,000 short at the end of June.
Commissioners Jack Woodrum and Bill Lightner explained that Summers County has been spending approximately $30,000 per month to house prisoners in the regional jail.
It’s stipulated that counties pay $48.80 per day per person to house a prisoner; however, Lightner added that inmate transportation costs can increase the jail bill.
Commissioners estimated Friday that the jail fund will be depleted by the end of March, which means the county will not have enough cash to pay April, May and June jail fees.
Currently, Summers and Monroe county officials are working to receive a state grant that will help fund a two-county community corrections program. Community corrections programs enable some non-violent offenders to remain out of jail, but under supervision.
Woodrum said that if the grant to help fund a the program is approved, commissioners are hoping they will be able to replace this year’s $90,000 shortage with the extra money allotted for next fiscal year.
In addition to the increase for the jail fund, commissioners approved a 3 percent pay increase for county employees. Lightner and Woodrum explained that in essence the raise was 1 percent because of the federal increase for Social Security.
Commissioners also approved funding for a new employee in both the assessor’s and county clerk’s office. The circuit clerk’s office will have one fewer employee next fiscal year, however.
Lightner also said tax revenue is projected to increase by $40,000 during the next fiscal year because of higher assessments and new property purchases.
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