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Wed, Oct. 16

Decision on jail deal for Kingman inmates may come today
City could choose to house inmates in La Paz County

Jack Kramer

Jack Kramer

KINGMAN - City Council plans to review the amended intergovernmental agreement with La Paz County for the housing of Kingman's sentenced inmates when it meets today.

To recap, the Mohave County Board of Supervisors approved an increase in the jail fees charged to municipalities from $79 to $98 per day per inmate in April. Tri-City Council representative and Kingman City Manager Jack Kramer had asked the BOS to consider delaying its vote until the figures were audited. His request was partially denied, and the fee schedule was approved, but the BOS said it would leave open an option to lower the fees once the audit was completed.

The BOS kept its word once the audit results were in and lowered the fees by $6 to $92 per inmate per day, with a $65 one-time booking fee.

Kingman officials then negotiated an IGA to house the city's inmates in the La Paz County Adult Detention Facility.

Under the negotiated agreement, La Paz County would charge $65 a day per inmate to Kingman for housing of the city's sentenced inmates.

The agreement went before Council on Jan. 2, but Vice Mayor Robin Gordon sent it back because, as she said, it needed more clarity. Her confusion stemmed from transportation responsibilities spelled out in the agreement.

Within the language, it was clear that Kingman must pay 51-cents per mile for the transport of prisoners. What wasn't clear - but understood by the negotiating parties - was that multiple prisoners could be transported at once under the 51-cents-per-mile umbrella.

Now, with the agreement amended and the confusion clarified, Council will get another chance to approve it.

If a La Paz transport is in Kingman on other business, but picks up inmates on the way back, the city will be responsible for the one-way mileage. However, if a La Paz transport comes to Kingman solely to pick up prisoners, Kingman will be responsible for the round-trip mileage. When prisoners are released, La Paz will make attempts to secure rides back to Kingman through the former inmates' family and friends. If those attempts prove futile, La Paz will provide transport back to Kingman at the cost of - you guessed it - 51-cents per mile.

Also of note, within the agreement it's explained that prisoners will participate in a $5 medical co-pay program, and that La Paz County will be responsible for on-site medical treatment and the purchase of over-the-counter medication. However, Kingman will be responsible for off-site medical referrals and medications not covered by the jail and county's medical co-pay program.

In other business, city staff will look for approval from Council to move forward with the planning and creation of a Northwest Arizona Benefits Trust, which would include Bullhead City and Lake Havasu City. The purpose of the trust would be to pool the three cities' employee group health plans.

According to a letter from Kingman Human Resources Director Jackie Walker to Council, "While the details of plan documents are still being developed, a proposed plan design combines current benefits considered to be the best of those offered by the three cities. ... While the costs in the first year reflect a net increase of approximately $119,046, this is significantly lower than our anticipated (fiscal year) 2013 increase of 16 percent, approximately $700,000."

To be clear, approval by Council merely gives city staff the OK to move forward with a process that would ultimately result in the creation of the NAEBT.

Other discussions and possible decisions of note:

• Council plans to set public hearing dates - Feb. 7 and Feb. 21 - to discuss Kingman's home rule option. This May's general election ballot will include a question asking Kingman voters to renew the city's home rule option, which excludes water, sewer and sanitation system expenditures from the state-imposed expenditure limits placed on Arizona municipalities.

• Council will set its 2012-2013 preliminary budget calendar.

Council meets at 5:30 p.m. at 310 N. Fourth St.

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