Fiscal court discusses jail issues, other items at regular meeting

Posted February 22, 2024 at 9:43 am

Clinton Fiscal Court held its regular monthly meeting last Thursday, February 15, with all magistrates present.
The agenda was more brief than usual, but a couple of jail items were discussed and a little over half of the total 35 minute session was held in executive session to discuss personnel, with no action being taken.
The court first acknowledged receiving the treasurer’s report and on a motion by Magistrate Mickey Riddle, approved the monthly report as presented.
A pair of cash transfers, both from the occupational fund account totaling $55,000 were approved on separate actions.
Magistrate Gary Ferguson made a motion to transfer $25,000 to the jail checking account and Magistrate Terry Buster made a similar motion transferring $30,000 to the ambulance account, with each passing by unanimous vote.
The court, on a motion by Magistrate Jason Pitman, approved payment of claims and bills, which Judge/Executive Ricky Craig noted also included an order for road salt to refill the county’s salt bin.
The court then had first reading of a 2023-24 fiscal year budget amendment adding $838,266.42 in unanticipated revenue into the current year’s budget. Second and final reading will be held at a later date.
Clinton County Clerk Nathan Collins then presented the court with a check in the amount of $33,539.11 in excess fees collected from his office in 2023. A motion to accept the fee settlement was made by Magistrate Buster and passed unanimously.
The county will now have another “interim” Occupational Tax Administrator on a temporary basis.
On a recommendation by Judge Craig, Magistrate Ferguson made a motion to hire Noah Stockton as interim OTA “until the next fiscal court meeting,” apparently meaning the court’s next regular meeting in March.
The motion passed by unanimous vote.
Clinton County Deputy Jailer Kenny Myers then addressed the court about the jail’s need for a new inmate transport van.
Myers told the court the existing van had 180,000 “hard miles” on it already.
Judge Craig said a transportation vehicle could be purchased with remaining ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds. He further said if such a vehicle could be purchased for under the $30,000 state threshold, it may not have to be let for bids.
However, finding such a vehicle of its size and specifications needed for jail transportation may be difficult to keep under the threshold amount.
Magistrate Jerry Lowhorn also suggested Myers check on state contract pricing as well.
The court requested that Myers get some estimates and do some price checking and present them to the court at a later time for consideration.
Immediately following discussion on the need for a jail transportation van, Magistrate Riddle stated that there have been escapes and emergency medical situations occuring at the detention center and asked Jailer Bruce Stearns “why he hasn’t been informing the (county) judge and fiscal court” when those instances occur,” adding instead people had to find out about them on social media.
Jailer Stearns replied, “I really can’t say why…but I will from now on.”
Both Riddle and Judge Craig noted that whatever goes on at the jail affects the county as a whole and they needed to be informed.
The court then entered into a just over 20 minute closed session to discuss personnel, with no action being taken during, or following the closed door meeting.
After the closed session, Jailer Stearns gave the monthly jail report on inmate intake, trash pickup, etc. He noted that at that time there was only one inmate eligible for work release to help pick up trash.
Following the jailer’s report, the meeting was adjourned.
The next regular meeting of Clinton Fiscal Court is scheduled for March 21 at 5 p.m.