MOUNT VERNON — As the cost to jail those arrested under city ordinances continues to climb for the city of Mount Vernon, the revenue generated from fines has decreased. In 2013, that difference is over $183,000. Although City Council adopted legislation Monday night that will allow the safety-service director to negotiate a new one-year jail contract, council agreed to look more closely at the numbers during 2014 to decide if it’s time to change the practice.
According to Chip McConville, city law director, the city is responsible to pay for the housing and meals of those arrested under city code. Those arrested under state statue, even by the city police department, are not the financial responsibility of the city while they are incarcerated. It was stated during Monday night’s City Council meeting that there are about a dozen ordinances that are directives of City Council. Examples would be zoning violations, the synthetic drug ordinance passed earlier this year and aiding and abetting a juvenile curfew violation. If the city decides in the future to no longer hold a contract for jail services, it will be charged per day for those arrested under city ordinances. The current per diem is $60. If the city goes this route, Terry Scott, city auditor, estimates it could cost the city between $10,000 and $15,000 a year. The jail contract for 2013 is $318,154,50.
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