Mohave County lowers rate for prisoner housing

Litter ordinance put on hold again

Mike Hendrix

Mike Hendrix

KINGMAN - The Mohave County Board of Supervisors voted 3-1 Monday to establish the prisoner housing rate at $66.64 a day, a substantial decrease from the $78 rate presented to the board at its April 20 meeting.

Gene Hepler, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said he met with County Administrator Mike Hendrix and Finance Director Coral Loyd and adjusted the rate to take out depreciation from the $15 million cost of the new jail.

The $66.64 rate is "fair and justifiable," said Toby Cotter, Bullhead City manager who pressed the issue at the April meeting. He said the reconsideration was "much appreciated."

Hepler and Hendrix met with city managers from Kingman, Bullhead City and Lake Havasu City to come up with the lower rate.

OMB was given guidance to use a federal model that allows for direct and indirect costs to be used when determining per diem jail fees, Hepler said. The acceptable calculations allow for depreciation, 2 percent use allowance or a use allowance of less than 2 percent.

Hendrix recommended using the allowance of less than 2 percent as part of the jail cost for per diem calculations.

The new calculation allows for $2.68 million in depreciation on the jail and equipment, and allows for $537,000 for operations and maintenance.

Public Works provided those calculations to OMB to substitute for the depreciation value in the cost model that was audited and approved.

Using the OMB cost model, certain governmental expenses are not eligible to be used for calculating per diem jail fees. Those costs were associated with the local governmental body, the salaries and other expenses of county supervisors.

Also, the costs of idle facilities are not allowable under the OMB model, and those costs were backed out of the per diem calculation.

After using the recommended building costs and removing the unallowable costs, OBM determined the lowest possible jail per diem allowable to recover jail costs is $66.64 a day for each inmate, with a $61 booking fee, effective July 1.

In other agenda action Monday:

• The board voted 4-0 to continue an item regarding revisions to the county's anti-littering ordinance that would remove the five-day discretionary notice period.

Jace Zack of the County Attorney's Office urged the board not to amend the county ordinance that was passed in 2002. It allows for property owners to clean up litter within five days without facing prosecution when nobody can prove who generated the litter.

"We don't care how it got there. Just clean it up," Zack said.

The revision was proposed after supervisors approved a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of people illegally dumping trash in the desert.

State law allows for prosecution of litter generators, but it can be difficult to prove in court who did the dumping, Zack said.

Supervisor Buster Johnson said the five-day discretionary period is confusing, and he asked how many people have been prosecuted under the ordinance since 2002.

Zack said he didn't know the prosecution number. Most people don't litter in the presence of a police officer, he noted.