Newsbank Archive
August 23, 2014
City, county at odds over jail inmates
by Matt Aiken
Sep 26, 2012 | 5 5 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The City of Dahlonega may soon foot the bill for certain prisoners serving time at Lumpkin County Detention Center; but council officials said they want to ensure they’re not being charged for “hypothetically sentenced” inmates.

Much of that worry seemed to stem from a report presented to the Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners last month, by Sheriff Stacy Jarrard which listed the city as being responsible for $336,430 worth of inmate housing fees over a four-year period.

It was a number that City Attorney Doug Parks said was several hundred thousand dollars too high.

“That number has a devastating impact on us when you see that,” he said to Jarrard as they discussed the matter during a Thursday city work session

The actual number, Parks said, was reached after a week’s worth of case-by-case research and would round out to about $7,000.

Jarrard responded by saying that he was only attempting to keep Dahlonega in line with other cities which pay for such services.

Currently would-be-inmates that are arrested within the city limits for misdemeanor offenses go to Dahlonega’s municipal court. If they are sentenced to serve time they go to the local detention center and the county picks up the tab from there.

It’s a practice that’s unfair, Jarrard said.

“When someone is arrested within the city and that charge goes to municipal court, the revenue, fines and court costs come to the city budget,” he said.

Jarrard added the $300,000 figure represented the total of inmates arrested within the city over an extended time period and was meant only to serve as an example.

“I was not coming back to bill you for that,” he said.

Instead the county wants a $35 a day allotment for each inmate sentenced by the municipal court, along with payment for medical insurance coverage and additional transportation-related fees.

Last week the city council received a copy of a strongly worded county contract offer that included an apparent deadline of October 1.

“If this contract is terminated, it will be the responsibility of the City of Dahlonega to relocate, house and transport their inmates to alternate and suitable locations,” stated the letter.

It was a line that irked some city officials.

“You’re our police, so to speak, in the city,” said Mayor Gary McCullough to Jarrard. “So if we don’t pay you, you’re not going to arrest somebody?”

Jarrard said the details of any potential city/county contract are not LCSO business.

“I’m looking out for the interest of the sheriff’s office, that’s what I’m looking out for,” he said.

County attorney K.C. Horne said he drew up the contract at the request of the sheriff using the Georgia Sheriffs Association recommendations as a model.

It was a proposal that was met by outright laughs by some city officials. In particular, Parks said he took offense with a clause that asked that the city take responsibility and for “subsequent incarceration for any person for any reason associated with the original charge.”

“They want us to be responsible for anybody that might be directly or indirectly somehow associated for something that might occur inside the city,” he said to chuckles from the council.

Horne said that clause was meant to protect the county from having to pay for probation violators that were originally sentenced by the city.

“The sheriff does not want the burden to go anywhere except on the court that created the sentence,” he said.

Parks argued that this was unfair since the city would “have no control over the case” after the initial arrest.

“If any of those people who might be associated with anybody who does something wrong in the city even in the future comes out with a probation violation we have responsibility for them,” he said.

On Monday, Parks released an alternate proposal in which the city would pay the requested $35 a day for each inmate “actually, not hypothetically” sentenced in municipal court.

“In summary, there is really no problem,” read the letter. “Definitely not a [$300,00] problem as was originally presented. More like a [$7,000] issue on an annual average.”

Yet, during Thursday’s meeting, some council members said they felt city residents were already paying the fee through their county taxes.

“I’m confused,” said council member Ralph Prescott. “If the county people pay taxes and somebody gets arrested would they not put them in jail without paying an additional fee?... I’m paying taxes in the county.”

The issue will be up for discusion at next month’s city council meeting.
Comments
(5)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
cantunderstand
|
October 03, 2012
ok, so the city wants our jail service, but is going to have the GSP to come in for traffic tickets in the city?

what is wrong with these city officials? Who voted these people in? these guys are as bad as the counties school board or worse!
DISGRACEFUL
|
October 02, 2012
I have to ask why has it taken the Sheriff four years to do this. The city should pay its part. I have never seen a city wanting more and more money. All of this came up because the city was seeking the highway patrol to come in and enforce laws to help the court system bring in more money and it upset the sheriff because he was in election mode and telling his guys not to read tickets. The city and county elected officials DO NOT get along and it’s disgraceful.
Lumpkin Tax Payer
|
September 27, 2012
Ok, so im totally lost. I've only lived in Dahlonega for a little over a year, but I think it's crazy that the city doesn't pay the county to house their inmates. Does the city pay for their food over there? Their processing costs? There jail uniforms? Does the city pay the Jail for anything? And how come some of the money the court gets for the fines don't go to cover the cost of the inmate they sent to the jail?? Looks like the city just wants to keep all the money... If I were the county, I would stick to the plan of having the city find their own housing needs for inmates. Maybe the city should just get their own police force as well...
Ex-Resident
|
October 03, 2012
As a former resident of Lumpkin County, you had better repeal the Homestead Tax Act, where the rich seniors that are moving out of state INTO Lumpkin County will pay only a few hundred dollars for property taxes, nothing for the schools, which are dismal, and you will see your basic services wither away. No police, no firefighters, no emts, no teachers. When does THEIR responsiblity to the community cease?They are taking from the county and giving back nothing.

I believe that's a new form of welfare for Lumpkin County. Better use your brains people, or the City Hall will be another antique mart.
Poster 132888
|
September 27, 2012
along with payment for medical insurance coverage

Who knew that before AHA some people had to go to prison to get health care insurance, I guess it has to do with a group policy which covered pre-existing conditions.
City, county at odds over jail inmates
by Matt Aiken
Sep 26, 2012 | 3118 views | 5 5 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The City of Dahlonega may soon foot the bill for certain prisoners serving time at Lumpkin County Detention Center; but council officials said they want to ensure they’re not being charged for “hypothetically sentenced” inmates.

Much of that worry seemed to stem from a report presented to the Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners last month, by Sheriff Stacy Jarrard which listed the city as being responsible for $336,430 worth of inmate housing fees over a four-year period.

It was a number that City Attorney Doug Parks said was several hundred thousand dollars too high.

“That number has a devastating impact on us when you see that,” he said to Jarrard as they discussed the matter during a Thursday city work session

The actual number, Parks said, was reached after a week’s worth of case-by-case research and would round out to about $7,000.

Jarrard responded by saying that he was only attempting to keep Dahlonega in line with other cities which pay for such services.

Currently would-be-inmates that are arrested within the city limits for misdemeanor offenses go to Dahlonega’s municipal court. If they are sentenced to serve time they go to the local detention center and the county picks up the tab from there.

It’s a practice that’s unfair, Jarrard said.

“When someone is arrested within the city and that charge goes to municipal court, the revenue, fines and court costs come to the city budget,” he said.

Jarrard added the $300,000 figure represented the total of inmates arrested within the city over an extended time period and was meant only to serve as an example.

“I was not coming back to bill you for that,” he said.

Instead the county wants a $35 a day allotment for each inmate sentenced by the municipal court, along with payment for medical insurance coverage and additional transportation-related fees.

Last week the city council received a copy of a strongly worded county contract offer that included an apparent deadline of October 1.

“If this contract is terminated, it will be the responsibility of the City of Dahlonega to relocate, house and transport their inmates to alternate and suitable locations,” stated the letter.

It was a line that irked some city officials.

“You’re our police, so to speak, in the city,” said Mayor Gary McCullough to Jarrard. “So if we don’t pay you, you’re not going to arrest somebody?”

Jarrard said the details of any potential city/county contract are not LCSO business.

“I’m looking out for the interest of the sheriff’s office, that’s what I’m looking out for,” he said.

County attorney K.C. Horne said he drew up the contract at the request of the sheriff using the Georgia Sheriffs Association recommendations as a model.

It was a proposal that was met by outright laughs by some city officials. In particular, Parks said he took offense with a clause that asked that the city take responsibility and for “subsequent incarceration for any person for any reason associated with the original charge.”

“They want us to be responsible for anybody that might be directly or indirectly somehow associated for something that might occur inside the city,” he said to chuckles from the council.

Horne said that clause was meant to protect the county from having to pay for probation violators that were originally sentenced by the city.

“The sheriff does not want the burden to go anywhere except on the court that created the sentence,” he said.

Parks argued that this was unfair since the city would “have no control over the case” after the initial arrest.

“If any of those people who might be associated with anybody who does something wrong in the city even in the future comes out with a probation violation we have responsibility for them,” he said.

On Monday, Parks released an alternate proposal in which the city would pay the requested $35 a day for each inmate “actually, not hypothetically” sentenced in municipal court.

“In summary, there is really no problem,” read the letter. “Definitely not a [$300,00] problem as was originally presented. More like a [$7,000] issue on an annual average.”

Yet, during Thursday’s meeting, some council members said they felt city residents were already paying the fee through their county taxes.

“I’m confused,” said council member Ralph Prescott. “If the county people pay taxes and somebody gets arrested would they not put them in jail without paying an additional fee?... I’m paying taxes in the county.”

The issue will be up for discusion at next month’s city council meeting.
Comments
(5)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
cantunderstand
|
October 03, 2012
ok, so the city wants our jail service, but is going to have the GSP to come in for traffic tickets in the city?

what is wrong with these city officials? Who voted these people in? these guys are as bad as the counties school board or worse!
DISGRACEFUL
|
October 02, 2012
I have to ask why has it taken the Sheriff four years to do this. The city should pay its part. I have never seen a city wanting more and more money. All of this came up because the city was seeking the highway patrol to come in and enforce laws to help the court system bring in more money and it upset the sheriff because he was in election mode and telling his guys not to read tickets. The city and county elected officials DO NOT get along and it’s disgraceful.
Lumpkin Tax Payer
|
September 27, 2012
Ok, so im totally lost. I've only lived in Dahlonega for a little over a year, but I think it's crazy that the city doesn't pay the county to house their inmates. Does the city pay for their food over there? Their processing costs? There jail uniforms? Does the city pay the Jail for anything? And how come some of the money the court gets for the fines don't go to cover the cost of the inmate they sent to the jail?? Looks like the city just wants to keep all the money... If I were the county, I would stick to the plan of having the city find their own housing needs for inmates. Maybe the city should just get their own police force as well...
Ex-Resident
|
October 03, 2012
As a former resident of Lumpkin County, you had better repeal the Homestead Tax Act, where the rich seniors that are moving out of state INTO Lumpkin County will pay only a few hundred dollars for property taxes, nothing for the schools, which are dismal, and you will see your basic services wither away. No police, no firefighters, no emts, no teachers. When does THEIR responsiblity to the community cease?They are taking from the county and giving back nothing.

I believe that's a new form of welfare for Lumpkin County. Better use your brains people, or the City Hall will be another antique mart.
Poster 132888
|
September 27, 2012
along with payment for medical insurance coverage

Who knew that before AHA some people had to go to prison to get health care insurance, I guess it has to do with a group policy which covered pre-existing conditions.