Fiscal Court calls special meeting to talk jail finances

Published 8:29 am Thursday, January 26, 2017

An item for a $4,620 transfer to the Clark County Detention Center and outstanding bills turned into a discussion of all jail finances Wednesday morning.

The discussion outgrew the Clark County Fiscal Court’s regular meeting and will continue during a special meeting at 8:30 a.m. Friday. The meeting was originally scheduled for 9:30, but was changed Thursday morning to accommodate one of the magistrates who had another meeting Friday morning, according to an email from Judge-Executive Henry Branham’s office.

The transfer, coupled with about $60,000 in pending bills from the jail, led to a discussion of the facility’s finances and staff levels. Branham said the transfer was to fund employee uniforms and drug testing kits. Paying the outstanding bills would leave a negative cash balance, he said, and the county treasurer was advised by the state to pay payroll, utilities and benefits first, before paying outstanding bills.

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“How are we going to fix the cash flow issue?”Magistrate Daniel Konstantopoulos said.

“I’m open to all suggestions,” Branham said.

Konstantopoulos also questioned the size of the jail staff, citing a previous order limiting the jail to 40 employees. Branham said there were 45 employees at present, some of which were paid through the commissary and other fund sources instead of the general jail fund.

Konstantopoulos said his interpretation of the order was 40 employees total, regardless of how they are paid.

Jail officials previously requested the addition of five full-time employees to help cut overtime and handle a larger prisoner population. The latest reported listed 219 prisoners, more than half of which were state prisoners.

Clark County Jailer Frank Doyle was not at the meeting but Chief Deputy Jailer Justin Crockett said cutting employees would also mean losing revenue because the jail couldn’t keep as many state prisoners.

“Right now, we don’t need to cut any revenue,” Crockett said.

Magistrate Greg Elkins said the jail was outspending its revenue by about $500,000.

“That’s something we need to look at,” he said.

“The way the projected budget is … We had budgeted $1.6 million,” Konstantopoulos said. “Now we’re ready to go to $1.9 million.”

The fiscal court had to call a special meeting at the end of the year to transfer funds so the jail could meet payroll. At

the time, an expected payment from the state was late and there was an extra pay period in December, which caused the jail to be low on cash. State law prohibits counties from having a negative cash balance in its accounts.

In other action, the magistrates:

— approved changing road department employee James Robert from part-time status to full-time.

— reviewed the 2015 fee audit form the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, which was a “clean” audit, Branham said.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email or call 859-759-0051.

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