York County soon to see millions in overdue prison payments

Greg Gross
  • York County is owed about $3 million in payments for house state inmates at its prison
  • The first wave of payments is expected to roll in later this month

York County should soon start seeing millions of dollars in late payments, some of which are nearly a year overdue, for housing state inmates at its prison.

County officials said the missing money amounts to about $3 million, and about $1.7 million in invoices have been sent to the state Treasury Department in order for the money to be released to the county, Susan McNaughton, spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections, wrote in an email.

The county is expected to start receiving the money later this month, said prison Warden Mary Sabol.

The remaining funds are expected to be released later.

"We certainly want to get it in and get it on the books," said Commissioner Doug Hoke, who is also president of the county prison board.

Housing: The county has for years housed state inmates and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainees at its prison in Springettsbury Township.

Earlier this month, there were 614 ICE detainees,161 state inmates and 2,293 county prisoners in the prison, according to Sabol.

The county receives $83 per day for each ICE detainee it houses. It also receives $67 per day for some state inmates, and a $75 per diem for other state inmates who must attend programs, such as anger management or career development.

That money adds up fast, and funds generated from housing out-of-county inmates has traditionally accounted for about half of the budget to operate the prison.

Those separate rates from two different government agencies are what led to the state funding being late. County officials used the federal format to bill the state, which uses its own system, Sabol said.

"I truly believe the big issue was the submission of bills," she said. "Everyone (has) their own way of doing things."

The protracted state budget impasse didn't play a factor in the late payments, McNaughton said.

More to come: Additional county invoices for April and June — totaling $640,000 — also were questioned by the Treasury Department since the county was housing inmates under a contract that had expired, causing a delay in payment, McNaughton said.

Neither the county nor the state noticed that the contract had expired, she said.

Those funds will be paid once a settlement agreement is finalized, which should take about two months.

Despite the lack of state money rolling in, county administrator Mark Derr said it didn't cause any problems, but the county coffers did take a hit.

"It just added to the amount that we had to draw out of our reserves," he said.

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.