County supervisors to look at jail housing increase
By JIM SECKLER/
Mohave Daily NewsKINGMAN — The rising cost to Mohave County’s three cities to house inmates charged in city courts will go before the county supervisors today.
If passed by the supervisors, the agreement would raise the cost to each city for the 2010-11 fiscal year to $62.11 a day per prisoner, retroactive to Thursday. Once the new county jail is completed by September or October, the cost to each city would increase to $79.46 a day per prisoner. Sheriff Tom Sheahan recently told the board that jail bookings increased to 11,000 his year.
The housing cost the county currently charges is $58 a day per inmate. There also is a one-time booking fee of $65 per prisoner per day, which will remain the same. The fee is for inmates charged with misdemeanors in the three cities’ municipal courts. The county funds about 93 percent of the cost of jail services for inmates charged with felonies and charges the cities the rest for misdemeanor bookings.
The county currently is building a $72 million county jail in Kingman just off Interstate 40. The 242,000-square-foot jail is being built on a 19-acre county-owned site across from the county administration building. The three-story jail will have space for 688 beds housing more than 700 inmates, with room to expand to more than 1,100 beds.
A recently bought passenger bus will be used to take jail inmates from the new jail to Superior Court. The existing over-crowded county jail is across the street from the courthouse and guards walk inmates to court.
At a May board meeting, the city managers and mayors of Bullhead City, Kingman and Lake Havasu City opposed the increase in jail costs. At the meeting, Bullhead City Manager Toby Cotter said 10 other Arizona counties do not charge booking fees for inmates. He also said taxpayers are charged twice, once for the cost of a new jail being constructed in Kingman by a quarter-cent sales tax, and again with the inmate housing fee. County Manager Ron Walker said five of those 10 counties have jail districts, for which taxpayers pay a tax anyway.
The board will hold its meeting at 9:30 a.m. today in the board of supervisor’s auditorium at the county administration building, 700 W. Beale St., Kingman.