TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – A budget request is on the table that would see the new Vigo County Jail’s budget rise about $2.2 million dollars in 2023.
This would put the total budget at roughly $8.5 million. The increase is mostly due to staffing needs and rising inflation.
The jail currently has 64 of 68 correctional positions filled partly due to a recent pay increase for jailers. However, the target of having 68 jailers will soon shift due to a new staffing analysis. The jail will need to increase its staff by 11 employees.
The new facility is expected to run near capacity when inmates move from the old jail. Inmates housed in other counties will be move back into Vigo County as well. Vigo County Sheriff John Plasse said that a staffing increase is needed to appease a federal judge.
“She would definitely want to make sure that we have additional staff to watch out for that many more inmates being here,” Plasse explained.
It’s widely known that the jail has a federal lawsuit looming over it, and a federal judge is overseeing the staffing at the facility. Plasse assured that he’s not feeling the pressure as he feels that he’s doing all that he can to keep the jail staffed. He explained that staffing shortages is something that all Sheriff’s are dealing with at this moment in time.
Vigo County currently has about $1.8 million in property tax levy growth to work with. Vigo County Councilman and Budget Committee Chair David Thompson said that council has multiple department heads to serve as budgets are worked through. He mentioned that it’ll be tough to budget the jail’s request.
“It’s going to be challenge to cut some of those things down.” Thompson stated. “A lot of what they are asking is based on an estimate and we don’t know how much the additional inmates are actually going to cost.”
With more inmates to be housed in the jail, and ongoing inflation, officials acknowledge that this request is somewhat of a moving target. However, Plasse said that $543,000 would go towards the 11 new employee’s salaries. He assured that what’s most important is keeping the jail staffed.
“The main part though is the staffing,” Plasse said. “That’s what we’ve been told that we need to have to operate this jail and that’s what we need to do.”
The next Vigo County Council meeting is scheduled for August 9th.