Jail may need more funding from county

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By Stephen Lega

Marion County Jailer Barry Brady returned to the Marion County Fiscal Court Thursday seeking approval for a $60,000 transfer, if needed.

The court unanimously approved the request.

Marion County Treasurer Kevin Cochran told the court if that transfer is necessary, it will be in addition to the $120,000 the county has already transferred to the jail this fiscal year.

At last week’s meeting, Brady reported that 26 beds were empty at the Marion County Detention Center. In spite of the county’s efforts to implement more evidence-based programs, the number of state inmates has remained below capacity.

The beds designated for state program inmates remained full through May, Brady said. Around that time, the state implemented an “intensive outpatient program” in an effort to release more inmates under the provisions of House Bill 463, according to Brady.

Fewer inmates has meant less revenue from the state.

“We only got 21 percent of what was expected from the state,” Brady said.

Brady added if things don’t change, the county jail could be more than $400,000 behind in revenue by December.

Magistrate John Arthur Elder III said that would be a big hit and that could impact roads and other county services.

“We have to figure out a way to balance this out,” Elder said.

He asked Brady if he’d contacted State Sen. Jimmy Higdon or State Rep. Terry Mills about the situation.

“I did. They are talking with folks in Frankfort,” Brady said.

He added that he hopes they won’t need to cut staff, but that may be something they have to consider. 

The magistrates asked Brady to try to come up with a plan, and present it to the court later this month.

In other business:

- The court approved an option to purchase the 748 W. Main Street (the former Ken-Mar building) in Lebanon for $620,000. The county is seeking to buy the building so it can be renovated for a new workshop for Marion County Industries. 

The workshop serves individuals with mental and physical disabilities, and the Marion County Association for the Handicapped has been working to find a new location for the workshop in recent years.

The county is putting up $225,000 toward the project, which includes $50,000 from the Marion County Industrial Foundation. The county has also applied for a $325,000 Community Development Block Grant from the state to cover the remaining costs.

- The court approved an archeological survey of the Marion County Wildlife Management Area. Marion County Judge/Executive John G. Mattingly said the survey will cost $18,000, and the county previously received funding from Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund to cover the cost of the survey.

- The court’s next regular meeting would normally be held on the third Thursday of the month, Oct. 17. Due to some scheduling conflicts, the court will hold a special-called meeting at 4 p.m., Oct. 24.

Citizens who want to address the court at that meeting will need to make sure they are on the agenda prior to the meeting.