George County jail in a ‘debt spiral’ - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

George County jail in a ‘debt spiral’

GEORGE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

George County supervisors just moved $100,000 from their emergency reserve fund to cover expenses at the George County Regional Jail. Now, some supervisors are saying the jail is going to break George County’s budget. And they’re ready to do whatever is necessary to prevent that from happening.

Supervisor Henry Cochran says, “We are in a debt spiral that we cannot break out of. I know this sounds like a broken record but this has got to change.”

Back in March, 2016, George County supervisors have shared their concerns about the financial health of the jail. They said those concerns surfaced when the Mississippi Department of Corrections transferred as many as 80 state inmates into privately owned jails. That move cut more than 30 percent of George County’s jail operating budget.

To pay bills this month, supervisors just approved a $100,000 transfer into the jail’s account. “I knew this day was coming. We all did,” George County supervisor Larry McDonald said. “I will not support a tax increase and I don’t think anyone on this Board is in favor of raising taxes. We are going to have to look at every option to avoid raising taxes.”

One possibility is to close the state side of the regional jail. “If we are going to go into debt, let’s do it for the County side of the jail and not for the State side,” George County supervisor Larry Havard said.

George County supervisors have a special meeting Tuesday morning at 8:00 to discuss the jail and how it’s draining the county’s coffers. “This situation is going to break this County financially,” said Supervisor Cochran.

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