REGIONAL JAIL BILL GOING UP AGAIN - Financial Strain For Many Counties

Daily rates for regional jail inmates are going up again, according to the Regional Jail Authority.

The increase is $3.50 per day to $48.50, effective July 1.

Glen Stotler, a Morgan County commissioner who is on the authority, voted against the increase, saying it would be an enormous burden on cash-strapped counties, which are limited in ways they can raise money.

Regional jail costs have been a significant issue in balancing Calhoun's budget in recent years.

During the past one and one-half years the commission has managed to keep the bill paid off, after being in debt over $100,000.

The state County Commissioners' Association presented a resolution opposing the new increase.

Executive Director Steve Canterbury said the increase was the minimum necessary to keep up with soaring costs, particularly for health care.

He said the contract for inmate health care is going up nearly $1 million for the budget year that starts July 1, accounting for about $1.25 of the per-day increase.

Canterbury also said health care costs linked to Public Employee Insurance Agency premiums is an issue, in addition to higher costs for natural gas.