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County to outsource jail meal services


LaGrange County Sheriff Terry Martin presented county commissioners with a plan to outsource meal services at the county jail at Monday’s meeting. Martin said that the plan could save the county up to $100,000 annually.

    Canteen Services, Inc., of Coldwater, Mich., will be providing the food preparation and serving to inmates as of May 2, under a contract approved by commissioners Garry Heller and Larry Miller. Commissioner George Bachman is on vacation.

    The move will eliminate three positions at the county jail.

    Under the plan, Canteen Services will be charging $1.84 per meal which includes everything associated with the food service. “They buy everything including the trash bags and napkins plus the food and labor. Everything is done to the guidelines of the State of Indiana, just as we have been providing,” Martin stated.

    Martin explained that he is now down to 10 Department of Correction inmates. “We are no different than any other county, everyone is experiencing this same decrease,” Martin explained.  LaGrange County is currently housing some 85 to 90 prisoners on a daily basis.

    There are five counties in Indiana now being served by Canteen Services, Inc., including Elkhart County, and numbers of Michigan counties. The contract is for three-plus years (until the end of Martin’s term of office) and does not include any escalator clause.

    Martin also announced that the school resource officer at Lakeland School Corporation will become a full time school responsibility under a new three-year contract. Commissioners approved the contract and sent it to the Lakeland School Board for approval. The contract runs from Aug. 20, 2012 to Aug. 19, 2015.

    Sam Perkins, maintenance person at the jail, presented a request for replacement of two York compressors at the jail. The units are 12 years old and one is completely “shot” and not working at all. The other is running at about 50 percent efficiency. The three quotes were from WSMechanical and Havel Bros. of Ft. Wayne and J. O. Mory, Inc., of South Milford.

    Quotes were taken for both rebuilt and new York compressors and for a new chiller system. WSM was the low bidder on the two new compressors with J. O. Mory the low bidder on the new chiller system. Commissioners decided the new compressors would be the best solution to the air conditioning problem at the jail.

    Commissioners passed a resolution of approval and request for the county council to appropriate $50,000 for the project. Commissioners suggested the money could come from either the Rainy Day Fund or the Riverboat Gambling Fund.

            Commissioners agreed to increase the fire insurance coverage on the county courthouse from $3 million to $8 million. Operation of the animal shelter changed over to the Ark Animal Sanctuary as of April 1. A check for $25,000, the first quarterly payment, was presented to Director Brian Cochran along with the title for the animal control vehicle at Monday’s meeting