Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1103201

Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 31, 2014

Influx of inmates has Henry County sheriff pondering additional staff

By Megan Cooper, GTNS News | Jan 16, 2014

The county jail is facing an influx of inmates, which may cause the sheriff to add a couple of new jailers to the staff.

During the Henry County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday morning, Sheriff Rich McNamee informed the board of the issue at the jail.

“We have, as of last week, 39 inmates. Because of that, we may need to add one or two more jailers to the staff,” McNamee explained to the board. “We are pulling deputies off the roads to help the jailers and to get the inmates to court dates and hearings. We need those guys on the roads, too, so we may need some extra help.”

Of those 39 inmates in the county jail, about 27 of them are in there due to drug charges.

“We’ve been busy and we’ve been getting things done,” McNamee added. “We also need to look at the future of the jail. We need to see trends and whatnot because for the month of December, we paid Louisa County $18,000 to house some of our overflow. We have some inmates going to Washington County and some to Lee County as well.”

McNamee told the board that he would pay attention to the number of inmates in the jail and when the time came, he would bring a request to the board for more staff if needed.

The sheriff discussed his FY2015 budget with the board, and concluded that he was about 6-7 percent under budget, but there are a few purchases he would like to make this year.

“First off, I feel we need an 11th deputy. I’ve added that cost into the budget and would like to see that happen this year,” McNamee said. “Also, I would like to update some of our vehicles. We have a 15-vehicle fleet and over half a dozen of them are over 100,000 miles.

The board took no official action over this matter.

Henry County Engineer Jake Hotchkiss discussed his weekly update with the board and brought a resolution before the board to purchase a new motor-grader.

“I brought a resolution before you to purchase a 2014 Caterpillar 12M3 motor-grader. The cost is about $266,290 before the trade-in. It includes a 60-month premier warranty and subscription to Vision Link (GPS),” Hotchkiss said. “It would arrive in July, as Caterpillar is backed up, and with this purchase, five of the seven motor-graders would have GPS on them.”

The engineer also discussed what his crew completed last week.

“We worked on snow removal quite a lot,” he began. “We were out at 5 a.m. on Sunday until about 10:30 a.m. and we were out again on Monday at 5 a.m. to clear snow. Tuesday was a normal snow removal operations day and some work on the trucks.

“Wednesday, we did snow removal and worked on gravel roads. We also fixed some stop signs and mailboxes that were damaged due to the snow. We also worked on cleaning equipment. Thursday we prepared for the freezing rain, putting salt and sand down on the roads, and Friday we did a little snow removal and worked on bridges/gravel roads. We have most roads cleaned and we are trying to stay ahead of the anticipated snow.”

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