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City balks at increased cost for inmate work crew

Decatur County is experiencing budget woes in the operation of its county prison and is likely to lose a contract with the City of Cairo for inmate work details.
Cairo City Manager Chris Addleton briefed city councilmen Tuesday night of a proposed rate increase being proposed by Decatur County officials.
According to Addleton, the city is currently contracted to pay approximately $50,000 annually for an eight-inmate work detail four days a week. “Basically, we are paying the salary and benefits of the corrections officer that oversees the work detail,”Addleton said.
When the city’s current contract expires on June 30, Decatur County is seeking a proposed fee increase of $13 per day, per inmate for seven days a week, 52 weeks a year.
The city manager says that would result in an additional $38,000 expense. “We can’t afford that. I can’t agree to that,” Addleton said.
City councilmen expressed concerns about paying for additional time when crews still would only be here to work for four days a week.
Addleton said it was unlikely other jurisdictions that contract with Decatur County for inmate work crews would accept the additional fees.
 The city manager says the city would hire temporary workers to help cover mowing during the busy summer season and would look at options for the long-term. Addleton said the hiring of temporary workers could be covered in the budget he has proposed for 2015-2016.
“If you can take care of it in the budget I would say write them a letter and let them know we are not interested in renewing the contract. We may get better mowing from the temps anyway,” Councilman James H. (Jimmy) Douglas said.
In other business Tuesday night, Councilman Douglas requested that the Building Department begin submitting more detailed reports concerning nuisance abatement on a monthly basis. “We need to be more strict about what we need to be doing about it,” Douglas said.
The councilman requested the report indicate when property owners are notified of a nuisance and the deadline for correction. “If that deadline comes and goes, then a citation needs to be issued,” Douglas commented.

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