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A dose of reality
Sheriffs inmate med budget almost depleted
bt co jail picweb
The Barton County Sheriff’s Office will assist the Great Bend Police department with calls while the GBPD has officers out due to COVID-19. - photo by Tribune file photo

Barton County Commission meeting at a glance

Here is a quick look at what the Barton County Commission did Monday morning:

• Approved  the expansion of anti-ransomware software use on county computers. After installing the selected package on several computers, it has been suggested that it be offered to those departments at remote locations and on other servers, Information Technology Director John Debes said. The cost for the additional three-year licenses is $8,071.

• Approved additional expenses from WDM Architects of Wichita in reference to the structural analysis of the Barton County Courthouse. In December, 2017, the Commission authorized WDM Architects of Wichita to perform a structural analysis of the Barton County Courthouse, cost estimated at $24,300. As the final billing has been submitted, the project includes another $532.75 in copy, lodging and travel costs, County Administrator Phil Hathcock said.

• Awarded the county’s $15,000 recycling grant to Sunflower Diversified Services of Great Bend.

• Approved the replacement of the household hazardous waste building at the Barton County Landfill. The 40-foot-by-60-foot steel building will be installed by Steel Builders Construction of Great Bend for a cost of $53,692. 

 It’s been a bitter pill to swallow, Barton County Sheriff Brian Bellendir told county commissioners Monday morning.

“My inmate medication budget is almost gone,” he said. 

This year, he allocated $19,000 for the meds given to those in the Barton County Jail. But, of that as of Friday, 95 percent has been used and it is only June.

“I’m going to go over and there is nothing I can do about it,” Bellendir said. He expects to surpass his budget by as much as $20,000.

The sheriff said the detention facility has been housing between 105-108 inmates per day on a regular basis, with only one out-of-county prisoner. “This is not something I see reducing. It is really negatively impacting my medication budget.”

This is just for the meds, he said. It does not include doctor or emergency calls.

“This year has just been horrendous for us,” he said. In the past several years, it has not been this bad.

They use generic drugs whenever possible and use as little medications as doctors will allow. But, “it’s an expensive proposition,” he said.

“But, law abiding citizens who can’t afford their medications just go without,” Commissioner Straub said. She asked what would happen if the county didn’t provide this service.

“We’d get our pants sued off,” Bellendir said. The county would face law suits from the state and, more dangerous, from the feds.

Here’s the twist, he said.

“These people aren’t taking their meds when they are on the street,” the sheriff said, adding they have every ailment known to man once in jail. Now, the county has to make sure they receive these, at the tax payers expense.

This is a problem statewide and elsewhere, he said. “It’s common for jails across the United States.”