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Bills not getting paid in Jasper County - KOAM TV 7

Bills not getting paid in Jasper County

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Jasper County officials have some bills they need to pay but can't, and bills the sheriff wants them to pay but won't.

It was the subject of a contentious county commission meeting today.

Jasper County is not out of funds.  In fact, reserves hold at least $314,000 unappropriated dollars.

So the county auditor prepared three budget amendments to shift dollars to pay a number of bills for things like the electric bill at the jail, assessments and highway department  projects.

Two thirds of the $66,000 money shift would cover pay raises approved in September.

But the amendments were tabled after attorney Bill Fleischaker argued there should be time for public comment.

So bills won't be paid for at least three weeks.

Fleischaker attended today's commission meeting to try and negotiate payment of separate bills from other county jails.  They're due from 2011 when the sheriff shipped out prisoners.

The commissions legal counsel, Norman Rouse, advised against paying because the bills are part of a lawsuit.

"(I'm) deciding how to advise the county on paying this Henry County bill, is whether or not there's a written contract - the law's pretty clear that in order for the county to be liable there needs to be a written contract," says Rouse.

"We've already said there's no written contract," says Fleischaker, the attorney for Jasper County Sheriff Archie Dunn.  "All there are are emails."

"Then he just may be stuck - he may be stuck," says Rouse.

Rouse says he's made a public records request for the emails Fleischaker says were the communication between Jasper and Henry counties over inmates but has not received anything.

Both sides ended up agreeing a judge would have to decide who's liable for the bill in court.

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