By Thomas Saccente
Sebastian County revenues exceeded expenditures by more than $520,000 in 2016, justices of the peace learned Tuesday during their regular meeting at the Greenwood Courthouse.
Sebastian County Judge David Hudson said revenue for the year was just more than $24.1 million and expenses were just more than $23.6 million.
Sales tax revenue generated around $3.7 million, exceeding the projected revenue of just under $3.5 million, and property tax revenue generated about $323,000 more than expected.
Hudson said that left a positive balance of about $9,175,000, which allowed Hudson to make recommendations to pay back reserve funds that paid for a part of the voting equipment last year of about $188,000 and set aside money for the Crisis Stabilization Unit of $315,000 and another $400,000 earmarked for jail repairs.
JPs also reviewed capital budget proposals for 2017, including $10,000 for a preliminary analysis of the Sebastian County criminal justice system by the Council of State Governments to address jail overcrowding.
Hudson said if the county is unable to consistently keep the Sebastian County Adult Detention Center from operating over capacity, the county will have to evaluate expanding it.
A study completed in 2016 evaluated the condition of and reviewed the master plan for the jail, the Sheriff’s Office and the courts complex. It stated there were about $5 million in renovations or repairs needed in the jail. An expansion to add 160 beds was estimated at $7 million, with more than a $1 million a year needed to operate a larger jail. Because the county does not have the funds to address either project, a new revenue source is required to for them.
Hudson said the total average daily population of the jail in 2016 was 447, an increase over 2011, which was 325. The capital budget proposal, as well as others, were approved.