Information from WYSH Radio
As the Anderson County Commission continues to try and find ways to generate sufficient revenue to staff the jail expansion scheduled to open early next year, commissioners on Monday will consider several resolutions drafted by the county law director assessing new fees for inmates incarcerated at the county jail. Law Director Jay Yeager says the new fees are in line with state law and would help take the onus of housing the inmates off of the taxpayers and place it on the offenders themselves.
Some of the proposed fees include charging prisoners for their jail-issued clothing and toiletries as well as instituting medical and dental co-pays and fees for having a jailer escort an inmate to the hospital to visit a sick relative or to the funeral of someone in their immediate family.
The 212-bed jail expansion will require 36 new jailers at an average annual cost of some $1 million, and commissioners have been trying to find new revenue streams for some time now. The salaries and benefits of those employees are at the center of the ongoing legal fight between Sheriff Paul White and County Mayor Terry Frank. White says he needs to hire the 36 new jailers and that the County Commission approved enough funding for his department to cover those costs for half of the fiscal year.
But Frank says that she cannot sign the salary agreement presented to her by the sheriff because it reflects the full year’s cost of those jailers and had she signed it, it would have effectively locked the county into the additional costs next year and beyond. A specially-appointed Knox County judge will hear their case in December.
In the meantime, many commissioners are banking on new revenue from housing state and federal inmates in the addition as, at least, part of the solution to funding the new jailers. The Commission meets Monday, Aug. 19.
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