What County Officials Want from Legislators

By Megan Trent

August 9, 2011 Updated Aug 9, 2011 at 5:55 PM EDT

ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Allen County Council members and Allen County Commissioners met to discuss their platform for the 2012 legislative session.

In recent months, prison reform has been a hot topic among legislators. Some have suggested sending people with D Felony convictions back county jails. It's a move that could cost Allen County $6.7 million dollars.

Allen County Commissioner (R), Nelson Peters, says, "I think we can do the program better than what the state's currently doing it, and I think we can do it much less expensively, but somehow they're going to have to split the cost with us."

Also on the agenda is health coverage for inmates. Peters says inmates are often given better health care than the citizens of Allen County. He proposes working with health care providers to make sure citizens' health isn't taking a back seat to criminals.

In addition, county officials discussed asking for more state assistance for housing juvenile inmates. Peters says when juveniles are sent outside of Allen County, it costs the county about $60 per day. However, if juveniles are sent to Allen County, they are not given the same compensation.

An unfunded federal mandate also requires counties to upgrade their 911 systems to 800 MHz. That could cost Allen County more than $14 million dollars, and county officials say it should remain under local control. They also want 911 fees to be collected on a countywide scale and not statewide.

Redistribution of seeded funding, or economic development income tax, is also on the table. Peters says, "Why don't you leave seeded revenue in the counties where it's being earned as opposed to sending it back to the counties where people live? In doing that, I think would realize a $5 million net gain."

The group of county leaders will meet again in early September to discuss legislative priorities.

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