The state paid Marion County through July 2017, but still owes in excess of $262,000

The Marion County Sheriff’s Department earlier this month received a two-month payment from the state for the reimbursement costs it owed for housing prisoners in the county jail in Palmyra. But the state still owes the county over a quarter of a million dollars.

The state’s overdue bill was mentioned in the budget message delivered Monday by Valerie Dornberger, county clerk and budget officer.

“The Marion County Sheriff’s Department was able to maximize revenue for the board of prisoner reimbursements by obtaining back payments from the state of Missouri as well as other entities that were owed from the 2016 budget year,” she said. “However, at this time Marion County has not received a large portion of the board of prisoner reimbursements from the state of Missouri. As of Dec. 31, 2017, the state currently owes Marion County $262,352.64. County officials have been working very hard to make sure the county is receiving revenue as quickly as possible and have been holding meetings periodically throughout the year to address these concerns.”

According to Sheriff Jimmy Shinn a payment from the state was received earlier this month.

“We recently received payment from the Department of Corrections for the months of June and July for the incarceration of inmates, so that’s how far back they are. They are paid up through July, but they have got the whole rest of year that they owe me for,” he said.

How big of a concern for the county is the state’s payment tardiness?

“It’s a major concern,” said Dornberger.

“Not only does it affect my (sheriff’s) office, I think it affects all the offices in the whole county when you talk about that much money,” said Shinn. “It’s not like we are talking about $10,000 or $20,000. We’re talking about a good sum of money that I need to continue to take care of these inmates — feed them, clothe them, the whole nine yards.”

The state’s pace of payment will be a topic of discussion when sheriffs from around the state gather in mid March at Tan-Tar-A Resort at the Lake of the Ozarks for the Sheriffs’ Spring 2018 Conference.

“We will address what we as a group plan to do,” said Shinn. “We’re trying to get the state to reimburse us in a more timely fashion.”

Adding their voices to those which are already trying to catch the state’s attention regarding prisoner reimbursement are Marion County commissioners Lyndon Bode, Larry Welch and Steve Begley. During the Jan. 22 commission meeting they signed a letter to Gov. Eric Greitens seeking his immediate attention regarding the repayment situation.

The letter notes that the “county pays all expenses and is only able to recover a portion of the cost of incarceration from the state. Since Marion County is not in receipt of the state reimbursement, this results in a significant financial drain on the county.”

By Danny Henley | Hannibal Courier-Post