It probably is futile to hope that certain people won't make political hay about the county Sheriff's Office suffering a shortfall of $3.1 million this fiscal year.
Sheriff Harold Carter is disliked by some, even some in his own department, and has just come off an ugly re-election campaign. So there are still hard feelings out there, and people with hard feelings often feel the compulsion to vent. The budget problems announced last week provide the perfect opportunity.
But the truth is much of the shortage the department accrued is out of the control of Carter. He cannot control how many federal inmates the federal government sends to be housed in our county jail. Federal inmate money that has not been received accounts for about $2.2 million of the shortfall.
The fact is there are fewer federal inmates right now because of changes in illegal immigration patterns, among other factors. There also are more places to house federal inmates in our area now than there ever have been. The net result for the county is a lower monetary net than anticipated this fiscal year from housing federal inmates.