County Commissioners concerned with jail budget - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

County Commissioners concerned with jail budget

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by Adam Shear

WACO - Tuesday morning's McLennan Co. Commissioners Court meeting might get a little heated because the sheriff's office will be asking for almost $400,000.

This request comes after the McLennan Co. Sheriff's Office already spent this year's $1 million budget and some commissioners believe even the new money will not get them through the rest of the fiscal year.

The sheriff's office will be requesting $385,000 from the commissioners court to help pay for the feeding and care of overflowed inmates.

Some county commissioners see this as a problem however, because the sheriff's office is already paying over $200,000 a month to house between 150-165 inmates at the CEC (Community Education Centers) run Jack Harwell facility.

The request for more money comes as the commissioners wait for those inmates to move back into the downtown facility that they believe the CEC should have already repaired.

"I'd just like to get some input and that's the one thing I was going to ask from the Sheriff's Department [Tuesday]," said Commissioner Kelly Snell. "Is the sheriff's department in constant contact with CEC? And is our attorney as well with CEC?"

The main problem the commissioners have is that the downtown jail could bring them more money because the county has the option to operate it. As of now the commissioners have no idea when CEC will finish upgrading that jail however.

"I was told by the sheriff's department that they can't give them a definite date yet because a lot of things are beyond their control," said Snell. "At least we need to get a target date. Because if we don't get a target date who's to say it might not take another year?"

The sheriff's office says regardless of any issues with CEC and the construction of the downtown jail though, that this money is absolutely required to run sufficiently.

"If you stop sending inmates being overflowed into the Jack Harwell facility then our jail becomes non-compliant," said Randy Plemons, McLennan Co. Sheriff's Department. "We have too many inmates inside the facility then it's designed to hold."

Both parties will meet to discuss the budget at 9:00 a.m. March 20.

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