UNION COUNTY — While meeting in special session Tuesday evening Union County Council got a pleasant surprise when Sheriff David Taylor presented them with a check for $34,945.
In presenting the check, Taylor said that it was the funds that had been accumulated by the Union County Jail Commissary from April 2015 through June of this year when the jail was still being operated by the Union County Sheriff’s Office. Taylor said with the transfer of jail from his office to the county, he had to close out the commissary. He said he was turning over the funds to the county for use in the operation and maintenance of the jail.
“When the county took over the jail on July 1 I had to close out the commissary which I operated and that was the money that had been built up in that account,” Taylor said. “That money can be used for jail operations or repairs. It doesn’t go back into the general fund, it must be spent on the jail.”
Council voted unanimously in May to approve third and final reading of an ordinance authorizing the “devolution and transfer” of the Union County Jail from the Sheriff’s Office to council.
The ordinance states that in March Sheriff David Taylor presented council with a document “devolving, transferring, and conveying all powers and duties” regarding the jail to the council. With the transfer, the ordinance states the county supervisor will have the authority to “appoint a qualified facilities manager” for the jail.
Supervisor Frank Hart said at the time that the transfer reflects the fact that there are two detention-related facilities — the jail and the county detention center — of which the detention center has been operated by the county while the jail has been operated by the sheriff’s office. He said that combining both facilities under the county will allow the facilities to share correctional officers and other resources.
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, Taylor told council that since the county took over the jail it has received $12,000 the jail had made since October on phone calls by inmates. Taylor said this was the result of the commission the jail receives each month on the charges inmates have to pay on any phone calls they make. He added that the commission the county currently receives is the result of a new agreement with the service provider that reduced the cost of inmate phone calls but increased the percentage the county receives.
Taylor said these funds must also be used for the operation and maintenance of the jail.
In a related matter, council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a request by Jail and Detention Center Administrator Neil McKeown to change two positions at the jail to lieutenants, each of whom will be paid $15.28 an hour.
In other business, council voted unanimously to approve a request from Taylor to authorize the purchase of a polygraph machine for his office. The machine will cost $7,675 and be paid for out of the county’s capital fund.
Taylor said the new polygraph machine will replace the one his office already has but is old and in need of replacement. He said the machine is used by his office in criminal investigations and for pre-employment testing. In addition, Taylor said the Department of Corrections and other area law enforcement agencies have used it as well.
Council also voted unanimously to allocate $2,000 to Union County Crimestoppers. The funds will be use by Crimestoppers to pay for tips that lead to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators of crimes in Union County.
The vote followed a presentation by Taylor and Maj. Johnny Sherfield who pointed out that Crimestoppers is a 5013c organization and therefore has to rely on donations for the money it uses to pay for information.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.