Bexar County could be paying thousands of dollars more from its fiscal year budget to feed prison inmates next year, even though the number of inmates the county detains is down.
This is mostly due to a contract agreement the county has with Aramark Correctional Services, LLC which bases the cost it charges the county on the Consumer Price Index, which has increased by 2.9 percent.
"So, the price increase of $141,741 or 2.9% is in accordance with the consumer price index, which is in the original contract with Aramark," said Bexar County Commissioner Kevin Wolff.
However, Commissioner Kevin Wolff says he is looking into the contract to see if there is any way the county can decrease the suggested payment of $5,029,377.07, by looking at what it costs to feed each inmate, as the county's numbers have dropped since the county signed the contract with Aramark.
"It makes logical sense that it should off-set that particular increase, and that's probably my biggest issue with this particular agenda item. Apparently, there's not something in the contract, and that's what I'm looking at now, that says 'oh you can also decrease the amount of the contract if you decrease the number of people detained'," said Commissioner Wolff.
The suggested payment of $5,029,377.07 would provide for the purchase of food services for the Adult Detention Center, Detention Center Annex, Juvenile Detention Center, and the Cyndi Taylor Crier Correctional Center for the period from October 1, 2012-September 30,2013, which would cost the county an average of $13,779.16 a day.
The original contract award amount to Aramark was for $4,390,948, which means the county could be paying a $638,429.07 increase over the original amount based on the CPI Increase, and not the county's detention numbers.
"I get what it says in the contract and I understand how you have to follow the contract. However, if there's an opportunity here for us to decrease costs because we have a decrease in population, I'd certainly like to take advantage of that," said Commissioner Wolff.
Commissioner Wolff says he wants to compare what the county was paying per inmate at the time the contract was drafted with what the county is paying per inmate now, in order to push for some sort of contract correlation in the future, if one can't be found this year.
The Commissioners Court meets Tuesday to discuss and possibly approve the renewing of the agreement with Aramark, at the request of the Bexar County Sheriff's Office and Juvenile Probation Department.