CLINTON — The East Feliciana Parish Police Jury has put off a decision on Sheriff Talmadge Bunch’s request for the jury to pay more of the parish jail’s operating costs. During the past five years, the jury and Bunch have agreed on a pro-rata share on the operational costs of the jail and care and maintenance of prisoners, based on an approximate 60-40 Sheriff’s Office/Police Jury ratio. The state has reduced he sheriff’s revenue for housing state prisoners.
Jurors, on the recommendation of Louis Kent, chairman of the Prison Committee, had indicated during their meeting Tuesday night that the jury would absorb the costs of insurance on the jail building.
However, parish jail Warden Ray Newman also requested a $5,000 monthly credit, saying the Sheriff’s Office shoulders a “number of unseen duties … to efficiently and financially maintain the facility in an operable manner.”
As a result of the responsibilities that include all maintenance and preventative maintenance of the jail, the use of four inmates assigned to the parish work crew and transportation for inmate medical care, substantial savings are recognized by the parish, said Newman.
Financial adviser Phil Graham told the jurors they have less money in their general fund than the sheriff does, and the jury still has a deficit in its road and bridge fund.
On a motion by Karl “Bubba” Chaney, jurors said they would try to find a solution by their next meeting on Aug.6.
Another topic before the jury involved:
SUBDIVISION CRIME: Highland Lakeshore Association President Ron Smith told jurors the parish governing body and the sheriff need to help the subdivision’s 100 families get rid of the “drugs, thugs and prostitutes” infesting their community.
Smith told the jurors the governing body had approved, through its laws, abandoned houses and derelict trailers that allowed “low life” to move into the area.
He described the Highland Lakeshore area as “a little piece of heaven” when he moved there 12 years ago. He also told jurors the subdivision was now a “little piece of hell” where a murder has been committed recently.
After Smith showed jurors pictures of the abandoned houses and trailers in disrepair, jurors said they could offer some help by forwarding the addresses of the houses and trailers to the district attorney.
Jury President Dennis Aucoin and Juror Jason McCray said they are aware of the severity of the situation and agreed the families need help.