According to Audit, the City Has Overpaid Dallas County Millions for Use of County Jail

In 1978, the city of Dallas and Dallas County signed an agreement concerning the operations at the county jail -- an agreement that's been revised four times, most recently in 1997. Which, as far as City Auditor Craig Kinton is concerned in his latest audit, is far too long to go between revisions -- especially since "the County jail operation has experienced many changes" in the decade-plus since the last look-see. Kinton's report, given to council members Friday and sent to media this morning, says the failure to update the agreement has led to several problems, chief among them: how the county identifies and defines a "city prisoner" and how the county tallies jail operating costs, which Kinton guesstimates has led to the city's overpaying the county by more than $2.2 million between fiscal years 2006 and '08.

Kinton writes that the city's been paying the county based on "preliminary budget expenditures" and "projected prisoner numbers," rather than using "actual expenditures and actual prisoner count." Which means that even though the number of prisoners is on the decline -- 60,723 in 2008, as opposed to 85, 298 in 2006 -- the city's costs have increased. Kinton does write that the numbers may be off a little, give or take: He says the $2.2 million figure is based on "historical data of jail cost categories." Still.

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