Angelina County judge cites population increase for higher water, natural gas costs at jail

The Angelina County Commissioners Court met Tuesday to discuss action on a transfer from the contingency fund to cover increased costs for water and natural gas
Published: Aug. 22, 2023 at 2:22 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 22, 2023 at 6:38 PM CDT
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LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - The Angelina County Commissioners Court met Tuesday to discuss action on a transfer from the contingency fund to cover increased costs for water and natural gas at the Angelina County Jail.

In January 2020, the jail had a population of about 228 inmates, now the population has grown to 257, with a capacity of 279.

Angelina County Sheriff Tom Selman said the increase in population is raising the utility bills.

“When you have that large of an increase in inmates, you’re going to have more consumption of water, the more water you use the higher your sewer bill is, so all those things effect the cost of operation,” said Selman.

Water and natural gas costs at the jail have increased by 24 percent. Selman said the increase in costs are unpredictable.

“The cost of natural gas at the county jail last year in the month of January was $1,761, in January of this year it jumped to $6,000, so that’s just an example,” said Selman.

Angelina County Judge Keith Wright said they have a contingency fund for a reason.

“We have that contingency there, it’s there for that purpose, unforeseen increases in cost, so we’ll be able to cover those without going to any other funding source,” said Wright.

Wright said that by considering the potential increases now, going forward they’ll be even more prepared.

“We’ve already gone back to the proposed budget, made some adjustments to those categories to cover it for next year,” said Wright.

The motion to approve the transfer of funds passed unanimously.