Jonesboro & Craighead County Agree on Jail Bill

August 9, 2007 - Posted at 9:16 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- It's taken months to hammer out billing, but the city of Jonesboro has paid part of their tab to the Craighead County Jail.

The county received a check Thursday for more than $387,000...bringing Jonesboro up to speed for the month of May.  But police chief Mike Yates says he's just being a cautious consumer when he double checks his bills, something that's paid off for the city.

Most folks usually take a second look at a big bill, which is what Jonesboro Police Chief Mike Yates did.

"We found $13,300 worth of errors that we had been billed for services that we shouldn't.  So that was basically the basis of us saying, wait a minute, we need to do this right," said Yates.

The city did not have access to county jail's computer system and was unable to keep an accurate track of their balance or check for errors.

"We have for so many years paid $30 dollars a day and when the fees went up at the beginning of the year to $45 dollars a day, we just wanted to make sure on our end that we are taking care of the moneys for the city and citizens to make sure that what we are paying out is correct," said Mayor Doug Formon.

"With as many inmates as we deal with and as complicated as some of the sentencing is, I think there will always be an occasional error," said Sheriff Jack McCann.

A new electronic system should provide clarity in billing reports and allow for easy verification.

"It's been a little bumpy road, but I think because of us holding our ground and worked through this I think we are good to go for the future," said Yates.

"I hand delivered the June bill this morning and the July bill should be ready tomorrow and soon as they review those, they should be paid so we are back on line again," said McCann.

Currently it costs $45 dollars a day to house adult inmates and $51 dollars a day to house out of county adult inmates.  Juveniles cost $65 dollars a day.