As part of the agenda last Wednesday, the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center board approved a working budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. 

The prospective budget operates on 7.5 percent more in revenue and expenses than the 2017-2018 fiscal year budget, up from $2,652,000 to $2,852,000. 

This increase comes despite steep projected losses in revenue from Elliott County (down from $100,000 to $30,000) and Morgan County (down from $240,000 to $100,000) due to the anticipated opening of a new Rowan County Detention Center in Morehead. The budget anticipates significant increases in income from Lawrence and Magoffin counties and state inmates to more than accommodate these losses.

The budget does not include any decreases in anticipated expenses, but features a $55,000 increase to the fund of salaries for deputies and matrons, $15,000 higher utilities costs, and a $55,000 increase to building repair costs. 

Rather than reach a balance in expenses and revenues for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, administrator F. D. “Pete” Fitzpatrick told the board the jail turned more than a $570,000 profit. The budget, which was approved as presented, was passed in the same meeting that the board voted to take several measures to reduce the jail’s profitability, including increasing wages for all hourly employees, hiring four additional employees, and cutting inmate housing costs assessed to counties from $25 to $22 per person per day. 

The administrator’s report also included a conclusion to the state Department of Corrections inspection conducted in April. The only issue of noncompliance the Department of Corrections noted in their report was overcrowding in nine dormitory rooms and nine dayrooms. 

In a letter of corrective action, Fitzpatrick said the jail transferred or release 31 state inmates in the month of April, and released 402 inmates compared to 401 being booked in. Furthermore, Fitzpatrick noted, the opening of the new Rowan County Detention Center would greatly mitigate overcrowding. Fitzpatrick said given the jail’s April populations, it would mean 72 fewer inmates.

In a letter, the Kentucky Department of Corrections accepted this plan of corrective action.

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