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Sheriffs Cite Problems

Mounting money problems and a growing population sends Missouri Sheriffs to the State Capitol. Monday marked the beginning of two days of testimony in front of lawmakers. Sheriffs focused on jail operations and how they are becoming a drain on resources to kick off the meeting. Testimony will continue for about four hours on Tuesday.Currently ABC 17 News knows discussion of sheriff salary will come up, and that’s what Cole County Sheriff Greg White says he’ll be speaking about.Committee members on Monday told our crew these hearings will likely produce some serious legislation in next year.Pettis County Sheriff Kevin Bond testified before a house committee saying county jails aren’t getting the help they need from the state. Unfortunately instability doesn’t just live in Pettis County. “It’s difficult for sheriffs to budget and try to, you look at history and what you’ve done in the past and hope that holds and sometimes it doesn’t,” said the Missouri Sheriffs Association President Kent Oberkrom.For example take reimbursements for housing state inmates. State law allows the Department of Corrections to pay up to $37. 50 per day, however its currently only paying $19.65. The average cost to house an inmate is $46.00 per day.”All budgets are tight, everybody’s pinching pennies and cutting corners where possible but that seems to be one of the concerns of the sheriff’s office,” said Representative Don Ruzicka from Mt. Vernon.At this time a house committee is tasked with making what changes it can, some easier than others. “There are a few simple changes we could probably make legislatively and get that moving,” said Representative Ruzicka.However others, like offering bidding for supplies and inmate healthcare, will likely take longer than one legislative session.”We’re wanting to create dialogue for the state to partner or share in some of the expenses,” said Oberkrom.Dialogue starts up again Tuesday morning at 8:30 A.M.

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