Moulton City Council tabled a vote concerning a jail use agreement with the Lawrence County Commission in its regular meeting Monday night.
According to the agreement, jail fees for each of the municipalities in Lawrence County will increase from $10 per day to $30 per day for each inmate housed in the Lawrence County jail.
District 4 Councilmember Cassandra Lee and District 5 Councilmember Brent White each questioned why the agreement stated the fees became effective May 1 when the resolution was not brought to the council for a vote until Aug. 5.
Mayor Roger Weatherwax said the City had received the resolution three months ago. He told the Council the resolution was passed between the sheriff’s office, attorney Callie Waldrep and the county commissioners until amendments to the agreement could be settled.
“The only bill we’ve gotten with the $30 (fees) was for May to June. They only charged us $10 up until this bill we received for May and June,” Weatherwax said.
County Administrator Heather Dyar, who has warned commissioners of a potential $258,000 deficit to the county’s general fund in 2020, said every municipality in the county has signed the agreement except for the City of Moulton.
The county’s temporary accountant, Lynn Brown, told commissioners in a work session on July 23 that she had tripled projections for the jail fees for fiscal 2019 according to the new agreement.
“I had budgeted $60,000 for jail and booking fees. We’ve collected $40,000,” Brown said. “Moulton is the biggest user of our jail, so until we can get a signed agreement from them, and can start billing them an increased amount, we’re still going to be behind.”
Lee and White argued that the City should adhere to the pay increase, but the increase should not be implemented until Aug. 5.
“We need an order,” Lee said. “I don’t mind paying the increase, but there needs to be an order. It’s just thrown at us.”
District 2 Councilmember Jason White also suggested the fee increase be covered in court costs paid by offenders.
In other business, the Council granted approval for Moulton Court Clerk Erin Strange to attend the Alabama Municipal Court Clerks and Magistrates Association annual conference at Perdido Beach, Florida from Sept. 17 to Sept. 21.
The council also granted City Clerk Deroma Pepper approval to attend Fall Training Institute at the University of Alabama from Aug. 27 to the 30th.
Moulton City Council will meet again on Monday, Aug. 12 for a work session at 5 p.m. and hold their next regular meeting on Monday, Aug. 19.