NATCHEZ — Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield said he can save about $53,000 annually by paying someone else to feed prisoners at the local jail.
Mayfield said he is looking at a contract with Valley Food Services.
“We are going to have the same kitchen staff, but Valley will actually take over their salaries,” Mayfield told The Natchez Democrat. “They will also assume any liability in case anything goes wrong.”
Jail Administrator Charles Harrigill said the savings includes salaries for cook and food servers, as well as workers compensation, insurance, benefits and retirement for those employees, rather than food costs.
The county currently pays one cook and one part-time cook $10.40 an hour for an annual cost of $32,146.
Mayfield said the $198,000 cost of the contract would be included in the $200,000 food budget for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1, 2010, and ending Sept. 31, 2011.
Last fiscal year, the food budget was $215,000. However, the county only spent $144,000, or 67 percent of its food budget, by the end of September 2010.
Harrigill said the cost of feeding prisoners was $126,000 in the 2006-2007 fiscal year, $138,000 in 2007-2008, $172,000 in 2008-2009 fiscal year and $144,000 in 2010-2011. The food budget for 2010-2011 was $215,000, however.
Officials said food costs have been difficult to predict when budgeting in the past because of the number of prisoners housed at the jail is constantly changing.
Mayfield said Valley Food Service will also bring in a new food manager to keep inventory, manage employees, operate cleaning and place food orders.
Greenwood, Miss.-based Valley’s other customers include the Mississippi Department of Corrections and Natchez Regional Medical Center.