New deal? City to vote on jail bed contract with county

YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. -- A new deal could help the Yakima County Jail tread water with its budget, but it's not going to dig it out of a hole.

"It's just one piece to a larger puzzle that we're trying to put together to get us back to where we need to be," said Ed Campbell.

Where Yakima County's Department of Corrections needs to be is filling a 6 million dollar shortfall for this year's budget. The jail lost some regular contracts that brought in regular cash flow. The city of Yakima wants to keep sending its inmates to the county but still pay less than it does now. The deal would save the city of Yakima and you the taxpayers nearly $600,000 a year.

Yakima said it's a win-win situation for the city and the county. Yakima County would get a steady stream of inmates and the city would get a better deal.

"Right now, or at least for the next five years, this relationship with the county is the best and most optimal resolution for the city," said Yakima City Manager Tony O'Rourke.

The city currently pays a flat rate for 110 inmates a day, but usually only averages 80 inmates at a time. The new deal would be on a per-head cost.

Yakima County needed to keep this contract even at a lesser rate to keep the beds occupied. But it's still working out deals with other agencies. Most recently contracts were linked with the City of Fife and the State Department of Corrections.

Director of Yakima County Department of Corrections Ed Campbell said the deal is a step in the right direction.

"This contract is not going to solve all our budget issues," said Ed.
"Ok, but it will help it though?" KIMA asked.
"It will help," said Ed.

A deal that's another step toward getting the budget back on track. Yakima city council will vote on accepting the five year deal on Tuesday.