County wants to ease jail meal costsMeals at the Lake County Jail are going to cost taxpayers $40,000 more this year.
Meals at the Lake County Jail are going to cost taxpayers $40,000 more this year.
The 2010 budget line shows the county paid $60,000 to Sunrise Nursing Home to prepare two meals a day to inmates at the jail. Now that cost will rise to $100,000.
The county board is looking for options to reduce its meal costs, such as purchasing equipment and hiring employees at the jail to prepare meals for inmates. The county has received a bid for about $75,000 from an outside source. If the county were going to take on the process, the cost is estimated to be between $60,000 and $65,000.
County Coordinator Matt Huddleston said it may cost around $100,000 to get an in-jail meal program going but the savings in the long run could pay off.
The two meals inmates get each day now cost $16.50 compared to $10 in the past. It means the single meal cost jumped from $5 to $8.25. The jail can hold 25 inmates.
A look at meal costs across the country show many states average under $3 per meal as governments scrutinize meal costs under budget constraints. Much of the lower-priced meals are attributed to proximity to large food service providers or in-jail operations.
The jail has used restaurants in the past. Hardees once provided meals as well as Judy’s Café. There is no contract with Sunrise, so the jail could switch providers at any time. Sunrise is operated through the county but has its own budget.
The hiring process has begun for a replacement of Clerk of the Board Wilma Rahn, who is retiring May 28. Donna Perkins, a candidate who drove about 1,000 miles from Paris, Tenn., to be interviewed by the board Tuesday was turned away from an actual interview after failing to type 50 words a minute, a requirement for the position. She said she was not happy that she didn’t get an interview. She argued that the county never specified that it was a pass-fail test when she applied and would have rethought driving to Two Harbors if that were the case. Huddleston said the typing proficiency is a requirement to be considered a candidate.