By 1812Blockhouse

In a meeting of the County Board of Commissioners on April 25, the commissioners discussed a variety of topics, including the approval of a new food service contract for the county jail. The meeting opened with routine business, but it quickly shifted focus to important decisions regarding public safety and health.

Introducing Crystal Shaffer to the Mental Health Board

One of the key discussions during the meeting was the recommendation to appoint Crystal Shaffer to the county’s mental health board. Sherry Branham-Fonner, the county’s mental health director, advocated for Shaffer’s appointment, citing her extensive experience in mental health and addiction. Branham-Fonner noted that Schaefer would be a strong addition to the board, with a diverse background and relevant clinical experience. The commissioners discussed the possibility of moving Schaefer to a clinical appointment in the future, emphasizing the need for balance and diversity on the board.

Backflow Testing and Vehicle Permit Approvals

The commissioners also approved a contract with Standard Plumbing for backflow testing at various county locations. This move ensures compliance with safety regulations and prevents potential issues related to water systems. Additionally, the commissioners approved an agreement with Richland Construction Incorporated for an annual over-dimension vehicle permit, facilitating construction projects throughout the county.

New Food Service Contract for County Jail

The meeting then shifted to a more focused discussion about the food service contract for the county jail. After returning from an executive session, the commissioners approved a new four-year contract with Trinity Food Services. The contract, which begins on May 29, 2024, is projected to have a cost of $2.02 per meal, with a total budget for food services expected to remain within the 2023-2024 fiscal year projections.

The new contract includes a significant reduction in the number of inmates working in the jail’s kitchen. This change addresses safety concerns and logistical issues related to managing inmates in such roles. Captain Blunk, representing the sheriff’s office, explained that the reduction from eight to four inmates working in the kitchen would lower the risk of injury, contraband introduction, and other complications. This decision was influenced by previous challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, when segregating inmates working in the kitchen proved difficult.

Blunk further explained that the contract with Trinity Food Services includes a 2800-calorie-per-day diet, with a four-week cycle menu. The meals provided by the service include a variety of options such as cheeseburgers, chicken patties, grilled cheese, and snacks for diabetics or those returning from court. Additionally, the contract allows for holiday meals during major celebrations like Christmas and Thanksgiving.

The commissioners agreed that the approved contract was the best option among the received bids, with Trinity Food Services offering the lowest and most effective price. The other two bids came from Summit and Airmark, with higher prices per meal.

Overall, the commissioners expressed satisfaction with the new food service contract and believe it addresses key safety and budget concerns. As the meeting concluded, the commissioners thanked everyone involved in the discussions and approved additional motions for personnel changes and other county business.

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