Jail to save $70,000 on food contract

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By Jamie Baker-Nantz

Grant County Jailer Terry Peeples has figured out a way to save $70,000.

Peeples, who took office Jan. 3, made a campaign promise to cut expenses at the jail and after only three months in office, he’s got the cost of meals to 96 cents per meal by renegotiating the food service contract.

That’s a savings of 19 cents per meal over the current meal price of $1.15

“We ran on wanting to cut expenses and the three largest at the jail are payroll, medical and food service, so we wanted to bid it out to lower our costs,” Peeples said.

The Grant County Fiscal Court approved signing a one-year contract with CBM of South Dakota.

Peeples said the new contract would offer more than the facility’s current one with Kellwell of Kentucky.

The new contract can be cancelled with 30 days written notice by either the jail or the company.

Peeples also promised while campaigning that he would use part-time employees and inmate labor to staff the facility’s kitchen.

He told fiscal court magistrates that wasn’t feasible because of security concerns.

Peeples said because the jail’s kitchen is in the rear of the jail, he was concerned about inmates not being properly supervised.

“We’re looking into using part-time employees where we can, but feel that the employees in the kitchen should be full time,” Peeples said.

The jail will still be required to maintain the kitchen equipment for use by CBM.

“So we might still incur a cost to keep them going?” Grant County Judge-Executive Darrell Link asked Peeples at a March fiscal court meeting.

“Yes,” Peeples replied.

Peeples said inmates, approximately eight to 10, will be used to help in the kitchen and CBM will supply 2 1/2 employees per the contract.

The total amount budgeted for food in the 2010-2011 budget was $377,000.

Peeples is also requesting bids for medical services at the jail.

So far, he said he’s received three. The deadline to submit is March 15.

Southern Health Partners currently provides medical services 16 hours each day at the facility at a cost of $388,000 annually.