Last year, the Livingston County Commission, in agreement with Sheriff Steve Cox, approved the closing of the Livingston County Jail and the transportation of offenders to the Daviess Dekalb County Regional Jail in Pattonsburg, Mo.
Presiding County Commissioner Eva Danner said the Livingston County Commission approved a budget of $361,900 for Livingston County's prisoners at DDCRJ. This includes a contract with the regional jail for the county to pay $30 per day for each prisoner held at the facility. This budget is down $130,358 from the $492,258 cost of Livingston County Jail operations in 2012, according to a Livingston County Jail Budget Status letter written by Cox last week.
Livingston County began transporting prisoners to DDCRJ on December 19, 2012. Ken Lauhoff, County Commissioner, East District, said in that time, the number of prisoners has been higher than expected.
"We thought we would average 33 prisoners a day," Lauhoff explained. "That's what we budgeted for. The worst that we have had has been some days of 52. We've only had a couple days of that, but we've had 50, 51 and the upper 40s. We're averaging mid to upper 40s."
Despite this, Cox said Livingston County's contributions to DDCRJ are still operating under budget.
"Our Board of Prisoners budget for the Livingston County Jail currently stands as having used 39.29 percent of our budget," Cox explained. "The line items, which are paid in 12 equal monthly payments show an expenditure of 41.67 percent. We are basically 2.38 percent under our budget."
Cox said in addition to the funds saved, the transportation of prisoners to DDCRJ also serves to better utilize the department's officers here in Livingston County.
"Since closing the jail, we have been able to better utilize our sworn officers in areas of criminal investigations and more frequently patrol in problem areas, assisting the public and doing business as we should," Cox said. "We have been able to shift our schedules to add more deputies on the night and weekend shifts in order to better focus on stealing and other rural crimes in the 538 square miles we cover. By having a properly staffed jail facility at DDCRJ, we are able to let them attend to detainees so we can focus on law enforcement work and serving our citizens."