The cost to house four juveniles accused of murder continues to soar.
Warren County’s juvenile account fund, which usually contains $50,000 annually and has been more than sufficient in the past to cover the cost of housing underage offenders, has been maxed out and an additional $60,000 is needed to bring the total to $110,000.
“We are having to transfer $60,000 into the juvenile detention fund,” said county Finance Department director Linda Hillis. “We’ll be about $60,000 over by the end of this fiscal year in June. I think that will be enough to cover us until then. The majority of the $110,000 will go for the juveniles in that one case.”
The information was presented to members of the county Financial Management Committee on Thursday. In attendance were County Executive Herschel Wells, chair, Commissioners Terry Bell and Linda Jones and Road Superintendent Levie Glenn.
Warren County taxpayers are footing the bill to hold the four Coffee County juveniles who admitted to their role in the murder of a local man in January during a botched robbery in Mt. Leo.
The four, Sam Brinkley, Charles Guess, Malik Scott and Melvin Horn, must be held in a juvenile detention center until each turns 18 and is transferred to Warren County Jail.
“The majority of that has gone to house the four juveniles for that one incident,” said Hillis. “As of April 30, the cost has been $57,225 and we have two more months remaining in this fiscal year. I think $60,000 will be enough to get us through the next two months.”
Jones asked if ankle bracelets and house arrest would have been a better option over spending what could likely be more than $100,000 in housing the four in juvenile detention.
“That’s for the judge to decide,” said Wells. “We don’t have any control over it. All we can do is pay this.”
The $60,000 transfer will cover the fund until the end of June. However, the last juvenile won’t turn 18 until August, meaning the county will have two more months of bills associated with their detention. Those funds will come from fiscal year 2016-17 and are not included in the $110,000.
Committee members unanimously approved the transfer. The measure will be sent to the full Warren County Commission for its consideration in June.