Local jail affected by government shutdown

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WAVERLY, Iowa (KWWL) – For almost 12 years the Bremer County jail has housed inmates for the US Marshal Service, billing them monthly to do so.
A letter from the marshals that came last Friday says that bill will go unpaid till further notice.

“We started in ’07 and then the numbers really kicked in for us in about 2015,” said Bremer County Sheriff Dan Pickett when I asked when the contract between Bremer County and the federal government began. He says his jail houses on average 40 to 45 federal inmates as part of a contract with the federal government.

Pickett said he usually sends a bill at the beginning of the month and then receives payment a few weeks later.

“The December payment will be paid once everybody pretty much comes back to work, until then it will be on hold,” said Pickett.

Pickett says he got a letter from the US Marshals saying the jail’s largest source of income would be delayed.

The sheriff says the missed payment hasn’t been causing any problems. He says they’ve been able to easily pull from their general funds to cover the cost.

But like much of the country, as to when the government will reopen, they’re in the dark.

“Where the problem could come in is, and I don’t know you hear a lot of different things, if it would continue through this fiscal year, which is june 30,” said Pickett.

Last year, housing the federal inmates brought in $1,066,000. Its money pickett already has budgeted for 2019.

Still, he’s satisfied with their contract overall.

“It’s still a win-win I think for Bremer County because it offsets costs to the taxpayers for the entire operation of the jail,” said Pickett.

Sheriff Pickett said they brought in more money than expected last year from the housing agreement, and all that money went back into their general fund.

Taylor Vessel

Taylor Vessel

Multimedia Reporter
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