Action on new jail contract delayed

Several Port Orchard City Council members had questions about the cost and lateness of a new contract for jail service with Kitsap County.

After about a 30-minute discussion, the council voted unanimously Sept. 24 to continue discussion on the issue at the Oct. 8 meeting next month.

Police Chief Geoffrey Marti said there were some circumstances in negotiating the contract that caused it to be brought up late before the council.

“Some of it was outside my or the city’s control,” Marti said.

Marti received the new proposed contract in early May.

According to Marti, the county jail administrator reported its civil department had an issue with indemnification provision in the contract because of some “civil litigations they were experiencing.”

“They spent several months working with their attorney to come up with language for the contract before sending it to me,” Marti said. “Through some changes with our department and trying to get this to our attorneys for their review, there has been a delay back-and-forth.”

Marti recommended approving the contract for the remainder of the year because it was late.

He said under a 2012 contract provision, the city is paying a lower rate until the new contract is ratified.

“This stinks,” Councilman Rob Putaansuu said. “For the county to come back nine months into the year and ask us to sign an agreement to retroactively pay them every month for the first nine months of the year. I think this is an unacceptable practice.”

He said the new changes should go into effect now and not since the first of the year.

“This would never be accepted in private practice,” Pataansuu noted. “I can’t support this.”

Putaansuu said it’s difficult for the city the budget for 2014 not knowing what the costs will be.

Under the proposed contract, it would cost the city $250,600 for 3,250 bed days at the jail — a $10,600 increase over the 2012 contract. The daily rate would increase from $73.68 to $77.11 or $3.43 per day.

Marti said there is enough money in the police department’s budget to cover the additional $10,600 increase.

“Knowing the figures within the police department, I know personnel cost for a year is something you can’t control,” Marti said. “So staff and personnel cost have gone up. I know they have in the police department.”

Marti added he received a letter stating the county will look at three-year contracts for jail services starting in 2014.

Marti said the city is up to date on payment for jail services.

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