"It just seems disproportionate that counties should have to pay the jail bill for cities, State Police, everybody," Carper said, adding that the state of West Virginia should bear more of the cost to house people in jails.
Charleston City Manager David Molgaard said city officials expected the caseload increase.
"Everybody recognized that by putting these cases through the Municipal Court, instead of taking them to the county, [we] would see an uptick," Molgaard said.
But many of the misdemeanor cases in Municipal Court don't involve jail time, said City Attorney Paul Ellis.
According to Molgaard, the city's increased costs are "not so much a result of sentencing, but holding until bond can be set."
The city has tried to hold prisoners at the regional jail for shorter times, Molgaard said. The city has included a special arraignment booth in its holding area and conducted arraignments via video.
Ellis said the city needs "a good year" to fully understand the effects of switching cases from Magistrate Court to Municipal Court.
The city's costs also could be a result of a spike in arrests.
Despite those first quarter numbers, Molgaard said the city might not surpass the $137,000 that has been budgeted for prisoner costs this year. Molgaard said the city will continue to monitor those numbers to determine if it is a new trend or "an anomaly."
Reach Rachel Molenda at rachel.mole...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.