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Commissioners vote to extend cities' deadline for housing prisoners to July 1
by Adam Elrod
aelrod@neighbornewspapers.com
February 28, 2013 10:40 AM | 1295 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Paulding County Board of Commissioners has decided to extend the date for housing city inmates in the county jail until July 1.

The commissioners voted Tuesday for an intergovernmental agreement which will require Dallas and Hiram to cover all transportation and medical cost for city inmates, and a 10 percent fine add-on fee, to be paid to the county.

Board members said they realized the previous date of March 15 was not fair to Hiram and Dallas councils because it is the middle of a fiscal year. Applying a $45 per day charge for each inmate would not be accounted for in each of the cities’ budgets.

This will give the cities time to either budget, negotiate or find a new place to house their prisoners, they indicated.

In a letter issued Jan. 18, the county informed the cities of its intention to charge the municipalities $45 per inmate per day beginning March 15.

The letter, signed by both Commission Chairman David Austin and Sheriff Gary Gulledge, stated the cost to house Dallas inmates in 2012 was $129,735 and the cost to house Hiram prisoners was $282,600.

Post 4 County Commissioner Tommie Graham said the cities had a contract with the county to house their inmates without the fee, which expired Dec. 31. According to the letter, while the agreement has been extended for eight years, it is being terminated because of the cost.

Graham said if the cities are going to enforce their laws and jail someone the cities need to pay for those inmates.

“I am not aware of any county that houses city inmates for free,” Graham said.

Dallas Mayor Boyd Austin said his city had the same agreement with other sheriffs and commissioners for 18 years and never had a problem.

Hiram City Manager Robbie Rokovitz said he met with county officials Wednesday to discuss the issue.

“They [the county] are providing a service; they should be paid for the service,” Rokovitz said.

However, he said the cost should be negotiable.

“We are not getting level service at that rate,” Rokovitz said.

According to the letter, the $45 fee will not cover the cost of medical care for inmates. Rokovitz said medical costs should be included in the fee.

Also, the majority of inmates are released on bond within 24 hours and never see a jail cell, he said. Rokovitz said he would like to see no charge for the first 24 hours.

Austin said the new charge “also fails to recognize the amount the cities pay for their police forces and municipal courts — services Paulding County cannot or will not provide.”

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