STANFORD — The Lincoln County Regional Jail dealt with more prisoner overcrowding than had been anticipated during the past fiscal year, but still came in under-budget by tens of thousands of dollars, Jailer David Gooch told Lincoln magistrates Tuesday.
The jail housed on average housed 105.7 prisoners per day during the fiscal year, Gooch said, which is about 147 percent of the jail's official capacity.
During the last two quarters of the fiscal year, the daily prisoner average was higher — 106.3 prisoners per day in January, February and March, and 106.5 prisoners per day in April, May and June, according to Gooch's quarterly report.
Gooch said when the jail's budget was put in place last year, it was anticipating an average daily population of 90 prisoners per day (125 percent of official capacity).
"We were significantly overcrowded for the fiscal year based on what we put in our budget," Gooch said.
But despite extra prisoners, the jail still managed to keep total operating costs down.
The jail spent about $32,145 less than it was budgeted to spend, according to reports from Gooch and County Treasurer Teresa Padgett.
The jail also needed less money transferred into its account from the county's general fund.
The jail was budgeted to need $694,428 in funds transferred from the county's general fund, but only wound up needing $645,000 in transferred funds — $49,428 less than originally budgeted for, according to the reports.
"It's a pretty good report from a financial perspective," Gooch said.
Back-up generator generates tension
Things got a little less friendly when Gooch brought up the issue of the jail's new back-up power generator, which he said isn't servicing the jail's needs as completely as hoped.
"It's not working much better than the old generator," Gooch said. "It fires up better than the old generator when the air conditioning isn't on, but when both of the HVAC units are on, it won't power up."
Gooch said he's been talking with electricians about the problem. Gooch said one electrician is "confident" he can work out a solution involving more gradual start-ups for the HVAC units, once he talks with the company that installed one of the jail's units.
As long as the generator can't start up with the HVAC units running, the jail is at risk for not passing inspection, Gooch said.
The jailer said other issues with the new generator include that it hasn't yet passed a state building inspection and that it may need a new power conduit.
"While I certainly appreciate Judge Executive 'Jimbo' Adams' effort to attempt to replace and upgrade the jail's generator, I believe that there has been a series of miscommunications … about the selection and installation of the generator," Gooch wrote in his quarterly report.
Gooch wrote that each jail in Kentucky is required by law to have "equipment necessary to maintain essential lights, power, HVAC, and communications in an emergency situation."