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Inmate work crews get expanded duties

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department and county officialsplan to make more use of county work crews as they expand theirarea of operations.

Joe Price, administrative assistant for the sheriff’sdepartment, told supervisors Monday that the department now has 29inmates on the county work crew program.

Inmates in the program provide a variety of county services,including picking up litter on county and city roads, courthousemaintenance, helping county road crews with paving, and opening thecourthouse doors for visitors. Also, inmates have been slated tooperate the jail kitchen when it officially opens.

Supervisors Monday approved the purchase of two floor buffersand chemicals to add another taxpayer-saving duty to inmates. Thecounty currently pays approximately $28,000 per year for an outsidecontractor to clean and buff the floors in several countyfacilities, including the jail, Department of Human Services,courthouse and others.

Price said the county could save money by purchasing two buffersand the necessary chemicals and allowing inmates to perform thatservice.

The electric buffers normally cost about $1,800 each, Pricesaid.

However, he found a source where he could get two at $600 each.By buying chemicals in bulk for $1,100, he could save another$1,800.

“(The seller) told me he bought a tremendous amount of surplus,and he doesn’t use as much as he thought he would,” Price said. “Sohe’s willing to sell it to us at a tremendous discount.”

Price could not say whether he would be able to get thechemicals at the same price in the future or whether they wouldhave to pay the regular rate.

“These should last us a good long time,” he said.

The money was not in the sheriff’s department budget, Pricesaid, but “because we’re using the buffers and cleaner on thecourthouse, we’re asking if it can come out of the courthousebudget.”

Supervisors also approved allowing the sheriff’s department topurchase a new pressure washer for $629. The pressure washer willallow inmates to clean the outside of public buildings and curbs,rather than the county contracting out those jobs.