Budget concerns in Jefferson County after detainees removed - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Budget concerns in Jefferson County after detainees removed

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, IL (KFVS) -

Leaders in Jefferson County are looking for a new way to generate revenue after losing the ability to house immigration detainees in the county's detention center.

According to union contract, the county has to give workers 45 days notice when it plans to cut workers.

County Board Chairman Robert White says that's where  the problems begin.

Without immigration customs enforcement detainees, means less money to pay employees.

Come Monday, Jefferson County board members will have a lot on their plate.

"Monday nights meeting is to address our budget as it pertains to ICE. We have to deploy ever single fiscal measure we have to get our budget back in balance with the absence of ICE revenue," says White.

According to White, the county already cut non-union employees.

Now they have to figure out how to bring the detention center into compliance.

White says one way is by reaching out to local hospitals and others.

"What we want to do is to get a set contract or a set situation where we have the adequate coverage, we meet ICE standards and we can continue to house these detainees without any interruptions to our operations or create any fiscal challenges to our budget," said White.

Even if the facility does meet the Immigration Agency's standards, there is no guarantee that the detention center will operate as it use to.

"Where we were averaging 110-120 detainees, if they come back and they only provide 50 detainees or only need 50 beds, well that's cutting the revenue source in half," said White.

At Monday night's meeting, board members plan to discuss all of their options.

White says he hopes to have a solid plan within the next 30 days.

Copyright 2012 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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