As increased revenue continues to be sought out by the Harvey County Commission in order to maximize the 2018 budget, one such opportunity was brought before the governing body at Monday's meeting.

Revenue through the holding of federal prisoners in county jail has been brought up briefly in previous meetings, but it was addressed more directly by Sheriff Chad Gay this week.

Gay stated that with the county's current contract with the U.S. Marshals for housing said inmates to expire this year, former Sheriff T. Walton had made contact with an outside entity before he retired, and Gay, undersheriff Shawn Chapman and county administrator Anthony Swartzendruber recently met with said entity — Summerill Group, LLC — to discuss a new rate for detention of federal prisoners for the county.

Currently, Harvey County charges $60 per day for each federal inmate the Harvey County Detention Center houses. Gay said Walton had felt like he had left money on the table at the last contract negotiation, hence his reaching out to Summerill. The initial proposal from Summerill representatives included a rate of $70 to $72 per day for the housing of federal prisoners. That rate increase alone would generate approximately $110,000 in new revenue per year, though Gay noted he wanted to take some measures to increase that even more.

"I would like to bump up the federal inmate population a little bit," Gay said.

The county jail holds about 30 federal prisoners at the moment and while some cell remodels are handicapping those numbers slightly, Gay pointed out that max capacity is 142 inmates, with the detention center housing about 100 currently — so there is room to facilitate more federal prisoners.

For Summerill's services, there would be a one-time fee of $35,000, though Gay noted that would be paid off in three to four months if the target negotiated rate is hit. If not, he said the county has the option to cancel the agreement with Summerill and not pay that fee, though it would have to start over in the negotiation and renewal process.

Looking at increasing rates and revenue, with the option to cut ties with the contractor if expectations are not met, the commission was very much in favor of pursuing the services of Summerill — especially considering the data the company has available to help in these negotiations.

"I think for a lot of businesses it would be a no-brainer," said commissioner Randy Hague.

Unanimously, the county commission agreed to move forward with talks to form an agreement with Summerill to help in the negotiation of federal prisoner fees with the U.S. Marshals.

In other business, the county commission:

Received gratitude from Judge Marilyn Wilder in the District Court for the allocation of money to do some painting of the facilities on the third floor of the Harvey County Courthouse.
Was notified of one opening on the Public Building Commission that will need to be filled by June 30, when Rich Denno's current term expires.
Heard of the upcoming South Central Kansas Water Summit on June 29, with Swartzendruber noting he needs to know if any commissioners plan to attend.
Renewed the annual contract with McCully and Associates for $28,500. The services help provide analysis (i.e. residential/commercial depreciation, commercial/industrial rental income expenses, etc.) for the county appraiser's office, with Craig Clough noting it is the most cost-efficient option for the department to utilize.
Approved a grant application through the Health Department for a healthy living grant from the Kansas Health Foundation for $100,000 over two years. Director Lynnette Redington noted it is a grant the department has received before in helping provide healthy concessions at NHS athletic events, while this time around it would be used to conduct park, bike and walkability audits.
Was presented with special event questionnaires in compliance with the KCAMP insurance agreement for the Parks Department's calendar of events. Questions were also brought up about getting insurance coverage for a potential archery range at East Park. Assistant county administrator Dan Bronson noted the county has received price quotes from KCAMP, but given some stipulated provisions he will have to address the Kansas Department of Parks, Wildlife and Tourism to see if they are still on board with making the equipment donations before bringing a proposal before the commission.
Learned from Emergency Management Director Gary Denny that ICS courses hosted by Harvey County will continue next month and he is getting ready to start tabletop training exercises — stemming from the active shooter focus group — with county entities, with the health care group up first in August.
Passed three resolutions, including 2017-9 (to approve a right-of-way dedication deed for a portion of 84th Street in order to facilitate the exchange of property between two adjacent land owners), 2017-10 (acknowledging amendments made to the bylaws of the county's liability insurance agreement with KCAMP to allow for the provider to also offer services to cities) and 2017-11 (setting the services fees to be collected from residential and commercial properties for solid waste facilities, with no change from the previous year).