Houston increases fees for inmate housing

WARNER ROBINS — In a short meeting Tuesday night, the Houston County Board of Commissioners approved increasing the fee it charges cities to house their prisoners and approved bids for fuel service and a new truck for the water department.

The commissioners voted 3-1 to increase the amount by $5 a day it charges Warner Robins, Perry and Centerville to house their prisoners in the Houston County jail. Beginning July 1, those cities will be charged $40 a day, which is still less than the $59 a day it costs to house them.

Commissioner Larry Thomson cast the lone dissenting vote, saying city residents already pay the same county taxes as those in unincorporated areas. He also was the only commissioner who reported having received complaints about the increase from city officials.

But Chairman Ned Sanders and Commissioner Jay Walker III both said the cities have increased rates they charge the county to take in animals at their animal shelters, so the increases run both ways.

“We negotiated with them on the animal fees and they didn’t raise them too high, and we haven’t gone too far with our prisoner fees,” Sanders said.

Walker pointed out that the county is having to spend more than $1 million a year to board its overflow prisoners out of the county until it can complete an addition to the jail, and that the county needs the extra money from the cities to help out with that cost.

The commissioners also accepted the low overall bid for fuel for county vehicles for the next six months from Mansfield Oil Co. of Gainesville. Mansfield bid to sell unleaded 89 octane gasoline for a $.0135 markup over the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) average daily price and ultra low sulfur diesel fuel for a $.0195 mark-up.

Mansfield’s gasoline price was lowest of the four bidding companies, and its diesel price was second lowest to a $.0182 mark-up by Davis Oil Company of Perry. But Davis’ gasoline markup was $.0159.

And the commissioners approved the low bid of $63,694 for a 2010 Ford F-750 2 1/2-ton service truck for the water department from Allan Vigil Ford in Morrow.

Seven dealers submitted bids, which ranged to a high of $76,745.

In other action, the commissioners:

Ÿ Approved promotions and pay increases for two members of the Board of Tax Assessors’ appraiser staff, Patricia Dietsch and Joseph Adams, who have completed requirements for Appraiser III certification.

Ÿ Approved abandoning John Paul Drive, a stubbed out road that was never completed or paved.

Ÿ And approved a waiver to the county’s animal limitation code to allow Joseph and Martha Driver of 203 4th Avenue in Bonaire to keep up to six dogs for therapeutic reasons for their daughter, who suffers from a seizure disorder. They said she will raise and show toy poodles as therapy for her disorder. The normal limit on dogs allowed in residential areas is three.

To contact writer Chuck Thompson, call 923-6199, extension 235.