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Politics
News covering policy and issues related to city and county governments in the Ozarks.

Greene County Commission Responds to City's Questions about Proposed Temporary Jail

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KSMU
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The Greene County Commission has answered the City of Springfield’s questions regarding the proposed temporary jail.  The city is being asked to contribute $1 million for three years toward the facility.

The commission said in a letter the jail issue can’t be worked out until city officials drop their lawsuit against the county.

One question the city asked was “What assurances will the Greene County Commission offer to the Springfield City Council that any written agreement signed by the County Commission can and will be honored by the Greene County Sheriff?”

The Commission responded by saying that “once a final draft of an agreement is completed between the County and the City, the commission would present that to the Sheriff.  The Sheriff is committed to an amicable solution.” They say the sheriff would provide them with what he can commit to legally, with active litigation ongoing, regarding that final draft.

Other questions asked how can the Greene County Commission “guarantee a minimum of 20 beds per day for offenders arrested on Springfield municipal charges and warrants by the Springfield Police Department during a three-year period” if the commission claims it can’t prohibit the Greene County Sheriff from categorically refusing any beds to current offenders arrested on Springfield municipal charges?  And “Is Sheriff Arnott willing to sign or co-sign an agreement to indicate his support?  Will Sheriff Arnott accept municipal prisoners in the event the temporary facility is filled, just as he does per the 2009 agreement with the U.S. Federal Marshals Service (Agreement 45-00-0155) that he signed?”

According to the commission, “the fact that the Commission is leasing this facility puts it in a different category than the current jail.  The Commission has the statutory authority to construct and fund the temporary facility and designate the agreed-upon number of beds in an agreement with the Sheriff.”  The commission would then agree to furnish those beds for the city as part of the potential agreement.

City officials also asked “what expenses would Greene County anticipate incurring for annual lease payments for the temporary facility as well as operating costs and any other costs directly associated with the lease and operation of the proposed facility?”

According to the Greene County Commission, installation costs are estimated to be around $77,600 with the minimum annual operating cost of just over $4 million dollars for three years.

And it said in the letter to the city it would be willing to assume the burden of a reporting process for the period of time the City of Springfield would provide partial funding.  The commission also said “aside from the $1 million investment on the part of the City each year for three years, this proposal does not seek to add any additional cost.”

Another question from the city asked, “After 3 years of paying $1,000,000 to the County for guaranteed beds in the temporary facility, would the County and/or the Sheriff guarantee a minimum number of beds per day?  After paying $300,000,000 to the County, is it safe to conclude that Greene County would assume the total facility costs as long as the temporary jail facility is operating?”  The city also asked if the commission would “agree to a signed contract for a multi-year period of from four to six years if necessary in the event a longer-term solution is not found?”

The commission said the intent is for the jail to be a “short-term solution” and that, at the end of three years, “the agreement may be reevaluated.”

The original proposal called for 20 beds for municipal prisoners, but the commission said it will entertain a request for 25 beds.

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