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Sooner than expected?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Clay County entered into a 30-year bond agreement with First Financial Bank in 2005 to pay for the Clay County Justice Center. However, the county council is hopeful that the new jail will be able to be paid off earlier than expected. [Order this photo]
* Tax money may shorten CCJC payment period

Recently, members of the Clay County Council have told The Brazil Times the new Justice Center could be paid off earlier than expected.

Clay County entered into a lease/bond agreement with First Financial Bank in 2005. Right now, First Financial Bank owns the Clay County Justice Center until it is paid off. The county makes bond payments twice a year.

Mike McCullough
On average, the county pays $800,000 a year toward the center. The agreement and payment plan is supposed to last for 30 years.

However, because the county is bringing in enough money, it could possibly pay the jail off earlier than expected.

The council set up a County Adjusted Gross Income Tax (CAGIT) to receive money to pay off the center. CAGIT is a tax that comes out of every county resident's paycheck.

CAGIT takes out 2.25 percent of incomes total.

Most of the percentage goes toward property tax relief, but .25 percent goes toward the jail bond. When the jail bonds are paid off, whether it takes 30 years or not, the quarter of a percent will be taken off the CAGIT.

Through the .25 percent of the CAGIT fund, the county is receiving an average of nearly $80,000 a month.

That equals an average of $960,000 a year the county is receiving, which leaves around $160,000 of extra money after the $800,000 payment is made.

The extra money is not allowed to go toward anything except the jail. The extra money goes into a CAGIT Rainy Day Fund.

The fund was set up in case, for whatever reason, the county doesn't take in enough money to make the payments. If that would happen one year, the county could use the money from the Rainy Day Fund.

As of right now, the county is making all of its payments while still having money leftover for the Rainy Day Fund, meaning the county could potentially pay the jail off earlier than expected.

"Members of the council are hopeful that the county will continue to grow," County Council President Mike McCullough said, "and that in reality, the new jail will be able to be paid off ahead of schedule and the extra quarter percent of the county's income tax will be able to be taken off."

The county is currently being paid to house state and federal inmates. However, those funds go into the county general fund, which helps support the cost of operating the jail but do not help to pay for the structure itself.

The county is paid $1 per day for state inmates and $45 per day for federal inmates. Because those funds go into the county general fund, most of the money still goes back into paying for the jail's operations such as meals, medical expenses and supplies.

"What we bring in (from housing inmates) can't fully cover those costs," Sheriff Mike Heaton said.

The rest of the expenses are covered by taxes, he added.

The Justice Center can hold a maximum population of 170 inmates. On average, the daily population is between 100-115, but this number fluctuates every day.

The jail holds an average of 10-15 federal inmates per month and an average of 20 state inmates per month.

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If it costs the feds $45 a day for someone to be in jail, I imagine several people would stay out of jail for a reasonable $40 a day. Would that be a bargain?

-- Posted by sickhorse on Thu, Aug 18, 2011, at 9:40 PM

But yet when you call the county highway to fix a pot hole on your rode they tell you they dont have the money. $800,000 per year for 30 years, does anyone see whats wrong with this picture.

-- Posted by Schraderfan on Fri, Aug 19, 2011, at 7:30 AM

That is A LOT of money!! Really? I hear it's nice but it doesn't look big enough to cost that much!

-- Posted by Kayk on Fri, Aug 19, 2011, at 11:15 AM

Schraderfan: The money used to pay for the Justice Center and the money used to pay for road repair comes from two separate sources and must be kept separate. The money for road repair comes from excise tax and gasoline tax (NOT property taxes). The STATE gets $.18 per GALLON of gas pumped in Clay County. A portion of that money is distributed between the incorporated towns, Brazil City, and the county. That $.18 has not changed for many, many years, despite the fact that the price of all materials needed to upkeep the roads have all increased greatly. Therefore, the problem with this picture is that you apparently don't know the facts.

-- Posted by Hodgepodge on Fri, Aug 19, 2011, at 11:35 AM

Schraderfan, so you have a pothole in your "rode"? That must be painful.

-- Posted by Matt Dillion on Fri, Aug 19, 2011, at 5:45 PM

The State pays $1.00 a day? That seems a little off, I think there must be a typo, if not, were getting ripped off.

-- Posted by reddevil on Fri, Aug 19, 2011, at 5:58 PM

I would much rather see $800,000 a year go toward road repair than go house those that steal from us. Thanks government.

-- Posted by patriotgames on Fri, Aug 19, 2011, at 6:30 PM

boy us county people are just making it easy for the jail i guess it is our jail maybe.

-- Posted by oknow on Fri, Aug 19, 2011, at 11:05 PM

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