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Council approves proposal for inmate transportation

At a special City Council meeting Tuesday, Dec. 18, the council approved a plan that would have the Mobridge Police Department (MPD) transport prisoners to Faulk County.
Walworth County Commissioner Marion Schlomer was on hand to represent the commission’s stand on the proposal and answer any questions.
Mobridge City Finance Officer Heather Beck told the council representatives of Walworth County and the City of Mobridge had worked on the proposal. Those included from Mobridge were mayor Gene Cox, police chief Shawn Madison, city administrator Christine Goldsmith, Beck and Schlomer.
Because the arresting entity is responsible for the transportation of prisoners to a facility and the majority of arrests in Walworth County are made in Mobridge, it would make fiscal sense for the MPD to transport prisoners.
Schlomer told the council if the commission decides to close down the jail located at the courthouse, they would sign a contract with Faulk County to reserve 10 beds a day for Walworth County prisoners. The recently built Faulk County Jail would then become the facility to house this county’s prisoners.
Beck told the council the proposal includes wages and the benefits for four new officers that would be hired at the MPD. The county would transfer two vehicles to the city for transportation. The proposal is estimated to cost $271,183 per year.
The city would set up a separate fund to track all expenses and for revenue paid to the city from Walworth County. The city will submit a monthly financial report to the county and send a representative to a commission meeting once a month to give that report.
Schlomer told the council that the county has not yet signed a contract with Faulk County, but has a verbal commitment from county officials to guarantee 10 beds a day. If Walworth County had more than 10 prisoners a day at Faulk, the county would pay a daily rate.
Councilman Randy Carlson asked what would happen if there was a situation where multiple arrests were made and there were more inmates than transport space in city vehicles. Schlomer said Faulk County officials had planned to purchase a transport van to help in situations of a multiple prisoner transportation or to transport prisoners to court in Walworth County. He said the revenue from Walworth County would allow Faulk to make the van purchase.
Schlomer told the council the commission would track the costs of the proposed transportation system for a year or two to help determine what they will do with the existing county jail.
“The old part of the jail will just have to be torn down,” he said. “This will give us more time to decide if we will add on and remodel the existing jail or rebuild a facility for Walworth County prisoners only.”
Schlomer said with the savings to the Walworth County taxpayer, this option makes the most sense.
“I think the majority of the commission is on board with this,” he said. “There will be hitches but we will keep working on it until we get it working smoothly.”
The council approved the plan that will be presented to the Walworth County Commission at the next meeting.
The Council also approved the second reading of Supplemental Ordinance 973, which supplements the city 2018 budget by $483,742 in various departments.
Mobridge City Administrator Christine Goldsmith was appointed as a temporary zoning officer until that position can be filled.
– Katie Zerr –