MOULTRIE — Although hopes of getting an increase from the state prison system for housing their prisoners came to nothing during the 2015 legislative session, county leaders still see value in the labor provided by those inmates.
A study conducted in 2014 for Colquitt County Commission showed that the per-day payment for each prisoner from the Georgia Department of Corrections in 2013 was less than the actual cost — by about $8.46. However, having inmates to pick up garbage on the highways, clean buildings and perform other jobs allows the county to come out ahead.
On Tuesday, Colquitt County Commission agreed unanimously to renew the annual contract with the Department of Corrections to house inmates through June 20, 2016. The prison is authorized to hold up to 190 state inmates and also houses some county prisoners.
The study, based on 78 prisoners who perform work for the county and another 12 working for the City of Moultrie, showed a benefit to the county of that labor of $880,000 to $1.04 million per year.
The rate of reimbursement per inmate has remained the same since 1996. An increase to $25 was one of the county’s major requests when officials met with state lawmakers during the recent legislative session.
County Administrator Chas Cannon said that remains a goal for the county.
In other business Tuesday, commission:
• Approved a zoning variance to allow SSS Broilers to build a chicken litter stack house on an existing poultry operation in the county located in the 900 block of Dona Turner Road. The 10-house operation will be allowed to build a stack house to sit about 450 feet from an adjacent property instead of the regulation 1,500-foot distance.
Stack houses allow poultry producers to keep litter dry and prevent it from leaching into groundwater until it can be sold for use as fertilizer.
No members of the public spoke in opposition to the zoning variance and construction of the stack house.
• Approved the abandonment of 1,200 feet of Beaty Road for county maintenance.
• Renewed an annual contract with Colquitt County Archway Partnership in the amount of $10,000.
• Renewed an annual contract with the Georgia Division of Child Support Services for a building the agency leases at 449 N. Main St. in the amount of $4,157 per month.
• Approved the purchase of a chest-compression system for Colquitt County Emergency Medical Services in the amount of $15,177.
• Approved the paving list for resurfacing of 13.62 miles of county roadways that will include 2.78 miles of Old Norman Park Road, 3.64 miles of Smith Road, 0.86 miles of South Boulevard, 3.39 miles of Faison Road and 3.15 miles of Sardis Church Road.
The state will cover $790,993 of the $1.4 millino cost, with the county’s share at $608,995.
Cannon pointed out that the mileage covered in the state program is less than 3 percent of county-maintained paved roads, which would make the cycle of resurfacing to cover all roads at about 30 years.
• Approved a county hazard mitigation plan.