County has new template for jail contract

MONTESANO — Sheriff Rick Scott says he’s reached an agreement with most of the cities on the Harbor over a new jail contract. It boosts the daily costs cities would pay the county to house misdemeanor prisoners by $5, but leaves out a controversial measure that would have made the cities pay for the medical costs of felons in the county jail. That would have been a new expense to the cities.

Scott said he still thinks cities should pay for felons arrested by municipalities, but it’s an issue that should be discussed separately from the new contract.

On Monday, the Grays Harbor County commissioners approved a new jail contract for the city of McCleary. Scott said he expects other cities to turn in their contracts to the county for approval in the coming weeks.

The contracts with the cities was set to expire on Jan. 15. Scott said since the contracts are on the verge of being approved by all parties, he has no plans to turn away prisoners that cities want the county to house.

Cosmopolis Mayor Vickie Raines said that the cities have been reviewing the contracts since the end of December and she didn’t see any general problems with the new contract.

The contract calls for cities to pay $70 per day for each prisoner, an increase of $5 from the current rates. There’s also a $25 booking fee for any prisoner booked and confined for less than one day. Cities would also pay for medical costs associated with the prisoner booked on misdemeanor crimes.

The daily costs would also go up on January 1, of each year based on 75 percent of the June Seattle/Tacoma/Bremerton Consumer Price Index with a maximum amount of 3 percent.

The contract also has a dispute resolution clause in case the county and one of the cities disagree on charges.

County Commissioner Frank Gordon noted that it costs the county $90 to house prisoners and said the cities are still getting a fair deal. He thanked Sheriff Scott for working out an amenable agreement between all of the parties after months of dispute.