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Maple Valley looking at court and jail options

The city of Maple Valley is reviewing it’s options for courts and jail services as the expiration of the city’s current interlocal agreement for services with Kent is upcoming at the end of this year.

Courts and jail costs soared last year, the first of the two-year interlocal agreement with Kent.

Prior to 2013 the city had interlocal agreements with Enumclaw for both services. City Manager David Johnston previously told the Reporter that Enumclaw gave notice and terminated those agreements because Maple Valley’s needs had outgrown what Enumclaw could provide.

Johnston has also said the city had expected an increase in costs because of a “sweetheart” deal the city had with Enumclaw, however actual costs far surpassed what

The budget numbers were adjusted higher this year, and as of the end of the end of April, costs for the year for jails were estimated to be slightly over budget while court costs were estimated to be less than budgeted.

In 2013 the city had budgeted $139,000 for costs related to jail services and as of Dec. 31 had year-to-date costs of $186,142, or 34 percent over budget. For municipal court costs last year the budget was set at $328,000 with year-to-date costs at $351,175 as of Dec. 31, 7 percent over budget.

This year for jail costs the city budgeted $226,100. As of the end of April $67,349 had been spent with a year end estimate of $226,251. For courts this year $375,950 was budgeted. As of the end of April $98,060 had been spent with a year end estimate of $354,473, or six percent under budget.

So far the city has received proposals for services from Kent for both courts and jails, King County for courts, and SCORE for jails and Issaquah for both. City Manager David Johnston said the city had also expected proposals from Seatac, but in evaluating what it could offer decided it couldn’t take on more at this point.

“We’re presently assessing all the proposals,” Johnston said. “We do have options that we are looking at.

For jails Maple Valley currently pays Kent for two guaranteed spots for prisoners at the Kent Corrections Facility every day at a rate of $220 per day. In addition, Maple Valley pays $135 per additional inmate per calendar day.

For courts Maple Valley currently pays $14,583 per month for two court days, one overflow court day, and one jury day per month. In any month where the number of cases filed is in excess of 333, the city pays an additional $4,000. Additionally, the city receives a quarterly invoice for other costs such as summons and interpreter fees.

Johnston said the city’s police chief, prosecutor and judge will be part of the review process.

“They look at it totally differently than I do,” Johnston said. “On the administrative side it’s very limited how we can involve ourselves in the court process.”

He added that as users of the courts and jails, the insights the chief, prosecutor, and judge bring to the process is helpful.

One of the issues to be considered, Johnston said, is the location of the jail and courts and the accessibility of both, including public transportation options.

“We’re trying to get all the data in a comparison matrix, and then we’ll make a presentation to the City Council in the next month or so,” Johnston said.

Johnston said he had not yet reviewed the proposals and he didn’t know yet if the city could expect much difference in cost under a new contract. He did reiterate that cost won’t go back to what it was under the city’s previous contract with Enumclaw.

“That increased cost is something we should have built into our model as we grew, but we didn’t have to,” Johnston said.

 

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