Carter County is expected to receive hefty increases in the rates it is paid for housing and transporting federal prisoners, a county official said Wednesday.
Jailer R.W. Boggs issued a press release containing what he said were the new rates for the county’s agreement with the U.S. Marshal Service.
He also offered praise for county magistrates, who are expected to vote to approve or deny the rates during a meeting starting at 10 a.m. today, for negotiating the new rates.
“We are looking at a new rate of $54 per day for prisoners lodged at our facility and a transport officer rate of $25 per hour,” said Boggs, later adding he verified the proposed rate information with federal authorities in Kentucky and West Virginia.
Boggs said Carter County’s current rates for federal inmates are $42 per day for housing and $15 per hour for transport.
“This new rate is amazing and should bring the county very close to breaking even at conservative numbers, and possibly become one of the few profitable jails in the state if we continue to do as well as we have,” said Boggs. “Carter County has needed this for a long time coming. It’s been a lengthy process but now all we do is await Judge (Executive Charles) Wallace’s signature accepting the new rate.”
The jailer said the fiscal court’s decision to approve the proposal should be “a ‘no-brainer’ because conservatively we are looking at nearly $325,000 additional dollars for the county” per year.
Wallace on Wednesday said Boggs did not have the authority to release the proposed rates prior to today’s meeting. And, while first saying the rate figures quoted by Boggs sounded “about right” and “pretty close,” Wallace later said he wouldn’t know what the proposed rates were until documents from the marshal service were transmitted to his office sometime before today’s special meeting.
Wallace specifically denied Boggs’ projection of potential for $325,000 in additional annual revenue, saying current jail numbers indicate the proposed rate could generate “$180,000-plus” more for the county.
“No. No. He’s way off,” Wallace said, categorizing Boggs’ entire statement as inaccurate. “He’s just trying to get his name out there like he had something to do with it.”
The county judge further stated the jailer had only released the proposed rate as a political ploy and went on to describe Boggs as “a sleazeball” and “a hustler.”
Boggs declined to predict any impact the proposed rate agreement might have upon a proposed regional jail agreement between Boyd and Carter County.
“It’s hard to say. I don’t know why Carter County would put in the work to receive these funds and decide to give control and split our hard-earned resources with another county, but you could never tell,” he said. “I pray this news cools down the ongoing controversy and allows the elected officials to just do the right thing by the county and hopefully bring a measure of peace. This issue has been a highly debated and spotlighted topic in the county.”
Wallace said only that an increased rate for federal inmates “would be even more money” if applied to a regional jail.
While the jailer had initiated the rate increase process at the fiscal court’s request, Wallace later pointed out the jailer is not authorized to enter any agreement or contract on behalf of the county. He directed magistrates Clifford “Sodbuster” Roe and Mary Ellen Greenhill to act on the county’s behalf and bring any agreements before the fiscal court for approval. With the improved rate awaiting approval by the fiscal court, Boggs said the end result would be good for the county’s detention center regardless of the process.
“Bottom line, I am just glad the rate has been established, and am excited for Wallace to sign this so we can start billing out the new rate as soon as possible,” said Boggs. “It doesn’t matter to me how this game has been played, just that Carter County ends up the winner.”
TIM PRESTON can be reached at