More back-and-forth with
city over inmates
East Mississippi Community College President Dr. Rick Young visited the Clay County Board of Supervisors November 23. The board also discussed unresolved payments for inmate housing from the City of West Point.
Young updated the board on the EMCC football team’s upcoming attempt to win the national championship. The East Mississippi Community College Lions will play the Arizona Western College Matadors in the inaugural El Toro Bowl in Yuma, Arizona, for the 2011 NJCAA National Championship on Saturday, December 3 at 3:30 p.m.
“This is the best year the football team’s ever had,” Young said. “They’re undefeated, and they’re headed for the national championship. I tried real hard to get the game played in Biloxi at the Mississippi Bowl. There’s seven commissioners over the nation that make that call. One is from Mississippi but the rest of them are from Missouri and on into the west. All the figures that I looked at on our team compared to Arizona Western showed we’re ahead of them. I found out that there are no criteria to determine who the number one seed is. From everything I can see the game should have been played in Mississippi, which would have been a first for a national championship. I appealed the decision but my appeal was denied.
“We’ve chartered a plane and we’re going to fly out of the Golden Triangle on December 1,” he said. “It’s about two and a half or three hours airtime, so we won’t have the fatigue to deal with when we get there – it’s about 1,500 or 1,600 miles. If we’re going to do this, we need to go in and win it. We’ll get them out there and get them settled in and then they’ll practice and play the game on the third.”
Young said the game will be televised locally.
“I’ve got it worked out so the game will be on Channel 4,” he said. “I’m trying to work something out to get it televised statewide.”
Young said both sides are evenly matched.
“They’ve got the leading rusher in the nation, and we’ve got the leading passer,” he said. “They’ve got really good defensive backs, but we’ve got…we’ve got probably the best team that’s ever played on that field. They are tremendous athletes.”
The board then once again took up the issue of payment for the housing of city inmates.
For several months the City of West Point and Clay County were at loggerheads over the housing of city inmates in the county jail. Inmate housing was handled by North Atlantic Extradition Service, a contractor who leased the county jail. However, NAES terminated its contract, effective July 1, leaving both the city and the county in the lurch.
Clay County Sheriff Laddie Huffman offered to house city inmates at a rate of $35 a day. This was the same rate that he offered other entities for prisoner housing, and is roughly what it costs to house one inmate for one day; Huffman stated that the jail would lose money if they went with the $30 rate. A protracted battle of wills ensued, with the city eventually victorious; the county agreed to house prisoners at $30 per day.
At issue now is the money owed to the county for inmate housing during the months of July and August, when there was no contract in place. Huffman’s rate for non-contract prisoner housing is $42 per day; the city was charged that amount during those two months because no contract was in place. The city is trying to get the county to allow them to settle that bill at the new rate.
In early November the board told the city that they would have to settle up for the months of July and August at the rate of $35 per day; however, the city sent in a check that was calculated using the $30 per day rate.
Chancery Clerk Robbie Robinson asked the board how they wanted to handle it.
“I didn’t want to deposit the check without checking with you first,” he said.
“We told them we were going to charge them $35 per day for those two months,” said District 2 Supervisor Luke Lummus.
“Send the check back,” advised County Attorney Tom Storey.
Robinson said he would send the check back to the city.