More cities OK new jail contract

MONTESANO — The Grays Harbor County commissioners on Monday approved new jail contracts with the cities of Montesano, Hoquiam, Ocean Shores and Cosmopolis, ending a year-long debate over whether the cities would choose to continue to house their prisoners who commit misdemeanor crimes at the county jail.

Last week, the county approved a contract with the City of McCleary. That leaves Westport, Elma and Aberdeen that still need new contracts. Oakville doesn’t require a jail contract because the city already uses the county for its police services.

The old contracts expired on Jan. 15, although Sheriff Rick Scott said he’s still willing to accept prisoners from the other cities to give them time to process the contract.

The contract boosts the daily costs cities 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.

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 a prisoner booked on misdemeanor crimes.

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