Commissioners respond to sheriff's request for additional funding

Less than a week after Adair County Sheriff Robert Hardwick asked the Adair County Commissioners for funds out of the Countryside Account, theyâ??ve made their decision.

This is the second time heâ??s asked for funds out of the account, and for the second time, the Adair County Commissioners denied his request.

This time, Sheriff Hardwick asked for an additional $9,400.70 to pay for outstanding inmate healthcare bills. The bills date back from 2010 and 2011, when inmates at the Adair County Detention Center received medical attention outside of the jail.

The commissioners say they denied Sheriff Hardwick his request once again because they say the sheriff has reserve money in other funds.

â??Right now he has the money in his reserve. He could use the money from the Countryside account, thatâ??s at our discretion, but weâ??d like to hold that in reserve,â?? said Adair County Associate Commissioner Carson Adams. â??Itâ??s [the funds] not just for the sheriffâ??s office, itâ??s for the people of Adair County, that could be used if we would have a disaster like Joplin or anything else in that nature. If he didnâ??t have the money in his account then naturally we would use it, but as long as he has a reserve, and a healthy one, we are going to deny him.â??

Sheriff Hardwick does agree he has money in reserved accounts, but says thatâ??s not what that money should be used for.

â??I just feel Iâ??m the keeper of the tax payers funding and I use their tax dollars very wisely and prudently, and this intended purpose of the Law Enforcement Sales Tax, I donâ??t feel like I should use those tax dollars for inmate healthcare costs because we have funding already there,â?? Sheriff Hardwick said. â??That money has been there since 1999 and they used it in 2002, 2003 and 2005 to pay for additional health care costs that were incurred here at the jail at that time. Again, this is a cost outside my budget so Iâ??m asking for funding from that same account.â??

The decision by the Adair County Commissioners to deny Sheriff Hardwickâ??s request was a unanimous decision.

â??Weâ??ve have shared with the sheriff before that weâ??re not interested in allowing the funds from Countryside to be used for inmate expenses at this time, he doesnâ??t need it,â?? said Adair County Associate Commissioner Mark Thompson.

â??That money is to be used for disasters or an emergency potentially in the future, and it was used back in 2004-2005,â?? said Presiding Adair County Commissioner Stan Pickens. â??Now that we have the Law Enforcement Sale Tax, he doesnâ??t need money from the account [Countryside].â??

Sheriff Hardwick did indicate that he does have a budget set aside for inmate healthcare costs, but the $9,400.70 heâ??s requesting from the Countryside Account is to cover the costs that arenâ??t in his budget.

â??I have $45,000 budgeted for health care costs, $3,721.00 per month is for medical needs, but then you have additional costs because they seek treatment elsewhere,â?? Sheriff Hardwick said. â??This budget item that I have is earmarked to take care of the next 8 months of the year for the medical needs of the inmates to pay this contractual healthcare. This $9,400.70 is an additional cost outside at other medical facilities. So again, Iâ??m trying to use the Countryside medical fund for indigent inmate health care.â??

Sheriff Hardwick says he will speak with commissioners about their decision in the coming days.

Click here
to read documents provided by Sheriff Hardwick that he says back up his request.