The Norman Transcript

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October 10, 2012

Detention payroll included in county’s budget

NORMAN — County officials included detention payroll in the 2012-2013 budget Tuesday morning during a monthly Cleveland County Budget Board meeting.

Sheriff Joe Lester said the jail has been threatened with fines for being “overcrowded” due to lack of staff. Current detention staff is sufficient for two pods.

However, the jail had to open a third pod to house the growing number of inmates.

As of Tuesday morning, 410 inmates were in the F. DeWayne Beggs Detention Center. Only 350 inmates are supposed to be in the jail without the third pod open.

Part of the problem, Lester said, is the Department of Corrections (DOC) cannot pick up all of their inmates during their monthly transfers because they do not have room for them.

Currently, 75 to 80 inmates are in the county’s jail waiting to be transported by the DOC.

The DOC pays the county $27 per day to house their inmates, but Sheriff Lester said that’s not enough money to hire more staff. The cost for utilities and food is taken care of, it’s just a matter of manpower for the third pod.

The budget board approved an amount of $556,823 for the jail’s detention payroll. Lester said for 12 months, the cost for staffing would be $739,110, so the budgeted money will be more than enough to finish the fiscal year. Extra money would go back into the county’s budget.

The county’s final budget numbers for September was $30,420,085, which was an increase of $1.2 million, County Commissioner Rod Cleveland said.

“We actually did a very good job of not spending and turning it back in. So we turned back in more money than what we had all anticipated and what we all looked at,” Cleveland said.

With the increased budget, the board approved to fully fund the county’s audit, which was around $967,000. The county originally planned to budget $275,000, but because of a $1.2 million increase, they tacked on an additional $692,000 to fully fund it.

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