The jail in Trigg County is a "life and safety" facility, which is similar to the Livingston and Caldwell county jails. Livingston county officials voted Thursday to close their jail due to the added expenditures the jail has incurred during operation.
Trigg County Jailer Glenn Cunningham said closing the jail was still an option, although other options are being explored.
State officials have been phasing out the "life and safety" facilities over the past several years due to the safety and profitability concerns.
The county was allocated $10.2 million by the General Assembly to renovate and expand the current Trigg County Courthouse, or possibly build another. Cunningham said it is a possibility that inmates will be housed in the basement of the new courthouse, although he could not confirm the speculation. Judge Executive Berlin Moore said the county would be responsible for any costs a new jail would bring.
State statute has also changed requiring life and safety facilities to have at least 2 guards on duty at a given time. Cunningham said he would have to hire additional guards to fulfill the requirement.
Cunningham met with Moore on the issue Monday and discussed what options they have. He said they mainly discussed how the county would be able to staff the jail, considering new requirements.
"If we can’t find the people or get the funding, then yes, we are going to have to shut down," Cunningham said.
Trigg County magistrates voted unanimously to approve the first reading of the tentative budget for the jail during the 2005-2006 fiscal year. Moore planned to spend $293,259 on salaries, repairs, training and retirement. It did not include the extra staff that the state is requiring for jails like the one in Trigg County.
This year’s budget also reflected a $9,000 increase in retirement funding. Moore attributed the increase to a change in state statute that called for additional funds to be set aside for employee retirement.
"It’s dictated by state law," Moore said. "And that not only affects this budget, but all our other budgets. That was a pretty hard lick to swallow."
It is also being considered to expand the jail enough to house state inmates. State inmates are convicted felons, which Trigg County can not currently house due to facility and safety concerns. However, this is highly unlikely, as Moore said the cost of such an expansion is possibly to high for the county to cover.
The General Assembly recently passed the state’s budget which allocated an additional $4 per day to house the felons. Starting July 1, jails who house state inmates will receive just over $30 per day per inmate.
In Saturday’s Paducah Sun, Moore said the county is in a "quandary" about what to do with the additional requirements.
"We do know that we don’t have enough money, or can’t get enough money to come up with a full staffing like we have already down there," Moore said.