“There is no sign of those numbers dropping,” he said. “The feds are constantly bringing us people.” Reasons for the increased numbers mainly stem from the county’s population increase, according to Johnson.

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MILTON — The Santa Rosa County jail has had an overcrowding problem since July, according to Sheriff Bob Johnson.

On Monday, the Board of County Commissioners discussed using 60 extra beds at the Department of Juvenile Justice facility and determining the cost of building one or more pods at the jail.

The jail can keep at most 682 inmates, but currently there are 734, Johnson said.

In July there were 702 inmates; 740 in August; and 769 in September.

The jail also housed some Escambia County prisoners until April.

“In January, February and March we had Escambia prisoners,” Johnson said. “I felt pretty confident that once they pulled them our population would go down.”

The jail also receives inmates through a contract with the federal government. The government pays $58 a day for each prisoner, according to Johnson. For January to August of 2017, the county has already earned $1,163,892 from its federal inmates. During the entirety of 2016 the county received $1,225,481, Johnson said.

“There is no sign of those numbers dropping,” he said. “The feds are constantly bringing us people.”

Reasons for the increased numbers mainly stem from the county’s population increase, according to Johnson.

In 2017 there were 10 percent more warrants, 528 more bookings, 990 probation violations through October compared to 946 in all of 2016, and an increase of 400 more cases in 2017 than all of 2016 still pending in the courts.

Johnson’s attempts to reduce overcrowding have not had enough impact, including issuing notices to appear for misdemeanors in lieu of arrests and seeking sentencing help from Judge John Simon.

The two solutions Johnson presented the board were to convert part of the DJJ facility near the jail to house 60 inmates and to expand the jail.

For the DJJ facility, he presented an estimation of a one-time cost of $130,000 to convert the facility and an annual cost of $995,000 in staffing.

Adding another wing would mean increasing prisoner capacity by 120. Costs, Johnson said, would be in the millions with roughly $375,000 annually for staffing.

At Thursday's commissioner meeting, Commissioner Sam Parker presented an idea in collaboration with Johnson to create a half-cent judicial system sales tax to help fund the jail. No action was taken at the meeting, but Parker said that if paperwork was submitted by November, a special election could be done by early next year.

Commissioners and Johnson were in agreement that the sales tax would be a better way to generate revenue versus raising millage rates or ad valorem taxes. That way, "everybody pays," said Commissioner Don Salter.

"I like the fact that the people would get to decide," Johnson said. "I think the voters of Santa Rosa County would go for it."

Daily News reporter Jennie McKeon contributed to this article