City looks to trim deficit by filling jail

BEDFORD HEIGHTS, Ohio (AP) - This Cleveland suburb hopes to
reduce its financial problems by attracting more jail inmates.
City officials plan to use a grant to add 51 money-making beds to attract paying customers. The city has no need for the space.
The city will set a rate of $75 a night for each federal
prisoner. The city estimates that it could make about $800,000 a year.
The Immigration and Naturalization Service has awarded the city a $1.5 million grant, and the city estimates it will spend less than $500,000 in city money to complete the project.
The city expects to recover its investment in the first year.
"Unfortunately the demand is very high right now," said
Finance Director Mark Cegelka. He and Police Chief Timothy Kalavsky said jail expansion will help replace taxes that were lost when businesses scaled back or moved.
Bedford Heights already rents out many of its 80 existing jail beds to Cuyahoga County and federal agencies.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)