In yet another sign of the times, the Newton County Board of Commissioners increased the amount it pays for meals for inmates and employees at the county detention center due to rising food costs.
At their Tuesday meeting, the BOC approved a 5 cent per meal increase, from $1.70 to $1.75, with the county's inmate food service provider, Frank's Restaurant.
With a maximum jail occupancy of 600 inmates, County Administrative Officer John Middleton said the per meal increase will cost the county an additional $32,000 each year.
In his request for the per meal increase, Mike Castellana, owner of Frank's Restaurant, listed recent jumps in the price of vegetables, meat and rice. From January to June, the price of rice increased from $9.50 to $27.77 and the price of pinto beans increased from $12.51 to $25.66.
In other BOC news:
An agreement was approved by the board that will allow it to access Blue Cross/Blue Shield discount rates for jail inmates. The provider network discount comes through the county's membership with the Association County Commissioners of Georgia.
Under the agreement the board will not pay premiums every month but only an administrative fee if a claim is processed. Rates are 8.5 percent.
The board agreed to join the ACCG's Group Self-Insurance Workers' Compensation Fund that will provide the statutory coverage required by state law for county employees. As the county is joining halfway through the year, the premium will be prorated for 2008 at $55,000.
According to Middleton, the new deductible of $300,000 is $100,000 less than the county's current deductible.
Landfill employees and drivers have the highest rates under the program at 11.75 compared to clerical employees, who have the lowest rate at .87.