Rate Increase Means Counties Facing Bigger Regional Jail Bill

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The bill from the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail to the five counties using the facility will be going up, but just how much the final bill will be is still up in the air.

The $2 increase to the daily rate went into effect on the first of the year, from $51 to $53.

But that's $7 short of the $60 rate the jail said it needs to cover its operating expenses.

The jail submitted a $4.3 million budget for 2013.  Last year's budget was for the same amount.  

Jail officials said for the past two fiscal years the jail has been using budget carry overs to cover operating costs, but for fiscal year 2013 the money has dried up.

The rate increase isn't sitting well with some leaders of the cash strapped counties that use the jail.

Athens County Commissioner Lenny Eliason said if the rate jumps to $60, the county will be looking at other options.

"I think it becomes unaffordable if it starts going up to $60 for us [Athens County]," Eliason said. "We will have to evaluate exactly where they are for the services they are providing and see if we can find them elsewhere cheaper or do them ourselves cheaper."

The Corrections board approved the $2 increase and only a quarter of the jail's 2013 budget during last month's meeting with the promise to revisit the issue at the next meeting.

The regional jail serves Athens, Hocking, Morgan, Perry, and Vinton counties.