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Toppenish City Council approved measures to close city jail and courts

Toppenish City Council approved measures to close city jail and courts.

TOPPENISH, Wash.- Revenues and costs.

This is what drove the city of Toppenish to have Sunnyside jail and courts take over keeping and processing their inmates.

One of the reasons for shutting it down is the jail holds seven to ten inmates at a time on average, which is way below their max capacity of 56.

It also had a generator fail just recently and City Manager Lance Hoyt the costs to replace the generator and get it up to code proved to be the tipping point.

"We have been doing it ourselves for 110 years. Unfortunately, we've come to the point where we can no longer sustain that," he said.

At the last city council meeting council members approved the search and they originally set their sights on Yakima county jail.

However, because the county district Toppenish is in they would have to take their inmates to Grandview to stand trial.

To save on travel expenses they turned their attention to Sunnyside because it's jail and court system are in the same building.

"The people in jail would walk through basically one door, across the hallway and into the court room. There's no transport cost," Hoyt said.

While the city of Toppenish is in negotiations to close their jail. The jail here in Sunnyside will have more than enough space to handle any of the inmates they might send over.

Toppenish would agree to pay for about eight beds in the Sunnyside jail, which usually operates well below its max capacity of 97 beds.

Commander Scott Bailey of the Sunnyside Police said he saw this to create a partnership with a nearby city.

"The budgets are tighter and tighter, so the more that we can do working together the better it is for us," he said.

Toppenish City Council approved the measures to have Sunnyside handle their courts and jail by a vote of 5-2.

The city plans for both measures to be in full effect by October first.

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