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The Local Agenda: Hall considers cost of inmates medical care
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The Hall County Board of Commissioners will consider approving contracts for medical services at the jail and correctional institution when it meets this Thursday.

Purported increases in the costs of providing medical and nursing care to inmates, however, were not approved in the 2015 fiscal year budget.

Funding needed to cover the approximate $70,000 increase in costs would have to come from reserves or through spending cuts.

And that caused some concern for commissioners, who promised to discuss the matter in further detail later this week.

"I’m struggling with it," said Commissioner Craig Lutz, adding that a bad precedent could be set if the board approves the funding now.

Warden Walt Davis said that most of the cost increases are related to the jail, which has beds for about 1,100 inmates.

The correctional institution, meanwhile, houses less than 300 inmates.

Davis also said that costs are typically lower for the correctional institution because the state offsets some of the operational expenses.

Additional cost increases for the contracts are associated with a 10 percent pay raise for Dr. Linwood Zoller.

The contract for the correctional institution is worth about $35,000.

The contract for the jail is about $792,000.

According to law enforcement officials, it costs about $3.50 per day to provide medical care for each inmate.

The Hall County Board of Commissioners will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday at the government center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road in Gainesville.

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