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City and County Discusses Who Should Pay for Prisoner’s Medical Bills

Posted: Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 at 6:30 am
Author: KNIA/KRLS News-Samantha Smith

The Knoxville City Council has to decide whether or not they will help the county pay for the medical bills of prisoners arrested by the Knoxville Police Department, prior to their booking in the Marion County jail.

The council, along with City Manager Dick Schrad, Mayor Don Zoutte, Police Chief Dan Losada, Fire Chief Mike Roberts, Sheriff Ron Goemaat and County Supervisor Sam Nichols discussed the matter at Monday night’s meeting.

Currently, there is around $13,000 in unpaid medical bills in dispute for suspects that were treated at the Knoxville Hospital and Clinics.

A 1999 Iowa Supreme Court case between the city of Sioux City and the Woodbury County states these expenses are the responsibility of the county. However, Nichols and Goemaat do not believe the county should have to pay the bills because the individuals are still in the custody of the Knoxville Police Department.

Both city and county officials state one of the most difficult obstacles is the inability to budget for such expenses as they can vary greatly from year to year. The council expressed that they want to find a way to be able to help the county in order to preserve a good city/county relationship.

The issue was tabled for the time being and Councilman Bob Wims says they should be able to have a decision made within 30 days.