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Sun, Sept. 22

Mohave County to track inmate revenue
Impact of jail income lost to La Paz County is unknown

The county has not yet calculated the loss in revenue after two out of the three major cities in Mohave County approved sending their prisoners to the La Paz County Jail instead of the Mohave County Jail.

County Public Information Officer Darryle Purcell said the county is monitoring the issue and will deal with it in the upcoming budget process.

In August, Mohave County increased the rate it charges the three cities to house their inmates in the county jail from $79.46 to $88.82 per inmate per day, plus a $65 booking fee for each inmate.

The county originally wanted to increase the rate to nearly $98 per inmate per day with a $65 booking fee, but when officials from Lake Havasu City, Kingman and Bullhead City protested, the county had an independent audit of the figures done and lowered the fee to around $88.

The increase is supposed to cover the cost of operating the new county jail, which is nearly three times the size of the old one. The new rate incorporates both the cost of the new facility and the additional operating costs, County Finance Director John Timko told the Board of Supervisors in August. The increase in rate would have generated approximately $300,000.

All three cities signed a contract with Mohave County in August, but that didn't prevent them from looking for a better deal elsewhere.

According to Lake Havasu City's Today's News-Herald, the Lake Havasu City Council negotiated and signed a contract with La Paz County to house its inmates before the end of September.

Lake Havasu will pay La Paz $65 per inmate per day plus $20 per inmate for transportation. The city estimates it will save about $238,000 per year with the La Paz contract.

Kingman City Council also approved a similar contract with La Paz last week. Kingman will pay $65 per prisoner per day plus 51 cents per mile for transportation. The city estimates it could save $45,168 a year.

According to the Mohave Daily News, Bullhead City Council is considering sending all of its inmates to the Fort Mohave Indian Tribe's jail, which they already have a contract with. However, the city's agreement with the tribe stipulates that the city only send prisoners to its facility after they have been sentenced.

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