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Newton County officials say county jail funding impacts 2015 bud - KOAM TV 7

Newton County officials say county jail funding impacts 2015 budget

Updated:
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has released nearly $1.8 million to reimburse county jails for housing state prisoners.

Officials in Newton County say this funding impacts their planning of the 2015 budget.

Newton County commissioners say the sheriff's office takes up the largest portion of the county's budget, which is why commissioners closely monitor the amount of reimbursement available from the state.

"It does throw a little wrench in our budgeting because we have to pay for the prisoners, but if we're not going to receive a reimbursement, then we have to find some place else to take out of our budget," said Marilyn Ruestman, Newton County Commissioner.

The state is supposed to reimburse county jails with $19.58 per prisoner each day, but the more funding the governor withholds, the less reimbursement county jails see.

"Even with these funds, we won't be reimbursed in full," Ruestman said.

There are currently 99 prisoners at the Newton County Jail and officials estimate it costs $37.70 per inmate, per day to run the jail.

Captain Richard Leavens estimates that by the end of the year, the state will owe the Newton County Jail about $280,000 in reimbursements.

He says the newly released funding may cover a small portion of that.

"Even if we get a few thousand dollars, that's better than nothing and it'd certainly be appreciated," Leavens said.

He says every extra penny from the state counts when it comes to paying off a large, mandatory expense.

"We as a county pay for the prisoners no matter what," Ruestman said.

"It has to get paid for, one way or another," Leavens said.

Preliminary work on the budget in Newton County is currently underway.

Formal budget meetings will begin at the end of next month.
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