Benton County to add $6.5M to 2010 budget

Benton County commissioners agreed Monday to add about$6.5 million to the county's 2010 budget, including big expenses to remodel the juvenile detentioncenter and more than $200,000 to pay for defense expenses in themurder trial of PhiengchaiSisouvanh Synhavong, 25, who is accused killing a pregnant Pasco mother.

Commissioners also agreed to shell out $64,165 for a sheriff's department program to monitor sex offenders and spend about $150,000 on computers and leasing a new phone system at the jail.

But the largest amount -- $5.6 million -- will go to the capital acquisition fund as carryover from the 2009 budget, said Commissioner Max Benitz Jr.

Some of the money also willback-fill expenditures made out of the capital acquisition fund, commissioner Leo Bowman said.

The supplemental expenses include nearly $25,000 for noxious weed control that is being provided by a state grant.

There also is about $38,000 coming to the county auditor from a grant through the 2010 Help America Vote Act.

Also Monday:

w Commissioners heard a request from Eric Hsu, indigent defense coordinator and chairman of the county's Law and Justice Council, to raise the amount of credit given to inmates who go to jail in lieu of paying fines.

Hsu said officials from Kennewick believe the current jail credit is too low when compared with what the city must pay to keep inmates in custody.

The new rates would go from $30 to $50 per day for non-working inmates and from $56 to $70 for inmates who are on work programs while in custody.

Hsu noted that the increase has no effect fiscally and only allows inmates to be released earlier because the higher rates will pay off unpaid fines more quickly.

w John Trumbo: 582-1529; jtrumbo@tricityherald.com