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New law means Kandiyohi jail revenue to fall

By Carolyn Lange

West Central Tribune

WILLMAR -- Starting in July, the state will be boarding fewer prisoners in the Kandiyohi County Jail. That will mean less revenue for the county.

In 2008, the state paid the county more than $1 million to house prisoners here.

At its peak in 2007, the county boarded as many as 60 Minnesota Department of Corrections inmates at one time in the county jail, said Kandiyohi County Sheriff Dan Hartog.

Under the new joint powers agreement approved Tuesday by the Kandiyohi County Commissioners, the state has agreed to keep up to 30 prisoners at the county jail, at a rate of $56.10 a day, with a maximum payment of $615,000 per year.

That's a steep decline from last year's payment of $1,052,604.

"It's a big hit for our revenue," County Administrator Larry Kleindl said.

Hartog said the state's prisoner population has gradually been declining, in part because of a decrease in crime and a decrease in jail sentences. The state is also using other facilities, rather than county jails, to house prisoners.

Although the state has put a $615,000 cap on Kandiyohi County's contract, that doesn't mean the county will receive that amount.

Kleindl said a cap in payment is not a guarantee of revenues to be received.

The county is currently boarding 28 prisoners for the state, Hartog said.