BENTON -- In penny-pinching efforts, Scott County Commissioners were able to negotiate bids for food and medical services at the jail.
On Tuesday, commissioners opened bids, receiving two for medical services and one for food service. Those bids were discussed and awarded during Thursday's regular meeting.
"We really do have to watch our pennies for next year," said Dennis Ziegenhorn, commissioner.
Submitted bids for medical services at the jail were Healthcare Professionals Ltd., which currently provides the service, and Advanced Healthcare. After discussion, commissioners voted to approve the bid from Healthcare Professionals Ltd.
"I'm very pleased with what they've done with us," said Sheriff Rick Walter in his recommendation.
"Both groups were very cordial, both groups want our business, and I think both groups can do the job," said Presiding Commissioner Jamie Burger.
Currently, $7,836 monthly -- or $94,032 annually -- is being paid. Healthcare Professionals Ltd. wanted to raise that $235 a month, but Burger was able to keep the plan the same with no change in the plan.
"I told them there was no way we could do that with the loss of our sales tax," he said.
The bids were for one year with the option to extend services for three. Set increases include: zero percent in 2009, 5 percent in 2010, and 4 percent in 2011.
They were based on 110 inmates. "But that number is always going to fluctuate somewhat," said Burger. He noted the price is adjusted daily based on the jail population.
Both plans also included pre-employment physicals for jail staff, which commissioners told Walter need to be taken advantage of.
The base amount bid by Advanced Healthcare was $96,904.08 yearly, with a 3 percent increase in each 2009, 2010 and 2011.
The sole bid for food services, from ARAMARK Correctional Services of Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.
When figuring the prices, based on the current rates and the $6,584 meals served in October, the prices came back about $1,400 higher per month, which equated to more than $17,000 per year.
"I called (Wednesday) and asked if we could negotiate for it to be better," said Burger. "They came back with some revised prices."
Under the new prices, the increase per month, based on the October numbers, would be about $750. The prices also fluctuate due to the number of meals served, with a lower price for a higher number of meals.
The contract will be renewed for three years. Meal prices are adjusted every 12 months, and Burger said that he wants it to be included in the contract that ARAMARK representatives meet with commissioners before those increases take place, so they can be negotiated if need be.
Sheriff Walter also recommended the ARAMARK bid be awarded. "I'm very satisfied," he said.
Commissioners encouraged anyone for or against the proposed ballot initiative that would waive county taxes in exchange for a half-cent sales tax to attend a public informational meeting. It is set for 6 p.m. Monday at the circuit court chambers at the Courthouse.
Anyone unable to attend is welcome to contact any of the commissioners with questions or comments.