Henry County sheriff, Fair Board make budget requests

Both the Henry County Sheriff’s Office and Fair Board presented their budget requests to the Board of Supervisors Thursday morning for the next fiscal year, which begins on July 1.

Sheriff Rich McNamee proposed a budget for his department showing an increase in total expenses of $31,475 from this year’s budget.

McNamee explained that he is requesting an additional $40,000 be paid to Advance Corrections Healthcare so they can increase the weekly hours of a nurse at the jail from 20 to 30 hours.

He said that ACH provides health care to jail inmates.

Currently, a nurse is at the jail 20 hours a week, with a medical doctor and mental health professional visiting the jail for a day on alternating weeks.

McNamee said that he is pleased with the work that ACH does, but the jail could benefit with increased nurse’s hours.

With that increase in expenses, McNamee looked for other areas to cut.

“Overall, I looked at trying to cut,” he told the board. “I cut in as many places as I could. A few hundred dollars here and a few hundred dollars there add up.”

One cut in expenses was $8,500 for motor vehicle fuel.

With the new increased-capacity jail having opened in November 2019, the department does not have to do as many transports to other jails.

That also helps on the revenue side.

McNamee said the jail houses about 50 out-of-county inmates a day at a rate of $50 per day. A majority of those inmates come from Polk and Johnson counties.

“Johnson and Polk counties have been wonderful to deal with,” McNamee said.

Alicia Yocum of the Henry County Fair Board requested that the county maintain the same level of funding — $20,000 — as this current fiscal year.

“With the uncertainty of this year, we don’t know what we’re getting into,” Yocum said.

The Fair Board had no capital projects this year but has a couple of projects in the upcoming budget year.

She said that the Fair Board has plans to use lime to level the floor in the sheep building and is looking at sheep and goat gates to make the pens smaller in order to fit more exhibitors in the barn.

“We’re also in the early stages of looking at a permanent backdrop for photos,” Yocum said.