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Hall County makes new offer after losing effort to raise daily fee for housing state prisoners


GRAND ISLAND, Nebraska — State officials have rejected Hall County's effort to raise its daily fee for housing state prisoners, but another county offer is headed their way.

In his proposal last month, county corrections director Fred Ruiz sought $93 a day, an increase of $5 from the current $88 a day, and sought a guarantee of 90 state inmates a day.

"The state flat rejected it completely," he told the Hall County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

The Grand Island Independent reports (http://bit.ly/1C1PA95 ) that the state countered with an offer of $88 a day for 82 state inmates.

The county board voted after Ruiz's report to offer the state a rate of $88 per day for 82 beds and offer to provide space for 14 more inmates for $75 a day each. Officials said that if the state accepts the one-year proposal, Hall County would receive an estimated $2.6 million for 82 inmates a day and an additional $383,000 for housing 14 more inmates at the lower daily rate.

Hall County began taking in the state inmates in June 2014, helping the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services ease its problems with overcrowded prisons.

Hall County Attorney Jack Zitterkopf had urged Ruiz to negotiate with the state to get as much money as possible under a new contract because of hidden costs associated with housing state inmates. Zitterkopf said that whenever state inmates get into fights at the county jail, the county's taxpayers have to foot the bill of prosecution and the defense of those inmates.

Information from: The Grand Island Independent, http://www.theindependent.com

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