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Antelope County Sheriff Bob Moore told commissioners on Tuesday he will pay for the software needed rather than having the funds come from taxes.
During last month’s meeting, Moore told officials the county has until the end of 2019 to become compliant with incident-based reporting and to expect a claim for $28,000 for the software, which he said he would cover from funds earned by housing other inmates. Doing so, he said, would keep taxpayers from having to foot the bill.
Earlier in the meeting, Moore updated commissioners on department finances. By housing inmates from other facilities, Antelope County has $333,721.95 in its jail account, along with another $59,297.25 from the commissary fund, which is money collected from inmates when they purchase various items from the county, such as chips or candy bars.
Discussion on the software turned heated as Commissioner Allan Bentley questioned the sheriff on which software he wanted to implement.
When Bentley asked Moore if he had “shopped around,” the sheriff replied,“It’s not about price here, Allen. This is the program I want because this is what’s working for the other sheriff’s departments. It’s up, it’s running, it’s proven. I don’t step into you guy’s territory, and say you should’t buy the John Deere maintainer.”
Bentley asked what program Moore wanted, and Moore reminded him that the information on Justice Solutions had been emailed to him. Bentley acknowledged that and asked Moore if he was aware there was a free program available.
“That’s just NIBRS (National Incident-Based Reporting System), and you don’t understand it’s not free,” Moore said. “I’m not going to get into a debate with you, Allen. Here’s the thing. I need this program, and I need to get it up and running. And it’s way more than just NIBRS.”
Bentley said he was simply attempting to ask questions about software and not trying to micro-manage. Instead, he said, he has “a fiduciary job by the tax payers” to ask questions.
Moore stood up from the table as Bentley spoke and said he was implementing the software he wanted using the money from his budget.
Bentley asked Moore if he realized the program didn’t have to be implemented until next year, but Moore said he wanted to program running to know everything was in place rather than waiting to implement it when the deadline arrived.
As Moore walked away, Bentley announced that he had emailed Moore about the software but had not received a response, “so I’m investigating it myself. I’ve got some answers. I don’t have the solution, Bob. I’m not giving you a solution. I’m just giving you other options. I’m not saying these are good ones, but I’d like to see you look at other options other than walking off.”
From the back of the room Moore stated he had spent two years researching software and was certain of this purchase.
“Ok,” Bentley acknowledged, “Do you have enough money in your fund that you were talking about - the $330,000 — to come up with the $28,000 payment.
“Absolutely,” Moore said.
“Ok, if he wants to pay for it out,” Bentley conceded.
Beside the software he plans to purchase, Moore said the funds, which are not from taxes, also paid for the defense attorneys in the Darryl Lierman case ($94,000), the premium increase for insurance ($39,000) and $16,000 in transcription costs from the Lierman trial.
“This is the inmates purchasing products through the commissary program with a markup in it that creates a fund that we’re able to pay for the mattresses, pillows, the uniforms, everything that is related to that inmate can be bought out of that account. And the inmates are paying for that — not the Antelope County taxpayers,” Moore said.
Moore said he prefers to keep between $300,000 and $400,000 available in case a major medical claim occurs with an inmate. He said Antelope County is responsible for all medical expenses of inmates. Commissioner Dean Smith asked if the county is responsible for the inmates from other departments, and Moore said no.
Moore cited a situation in Madison County as to why he needed so much money on standby.
“They had a heart attack in their jail, and they wound up with life flight and quadruple bypass,” he said. “It cost Madison County over $400,000. They had to go to their inheritance fund to pay that because by statute, we have to pay the bill.”
After explaining how much money Moore was saving the county, Commissioner Eli Jacob said he didn’t have any questions but had a statement.
“I think you’re doing a wonderful job. Keep it up,” Jacob said, which led to applause by those attending the meeting at the Antelope County Courthouse.