County to discuss jail, juvenile detention

Dan Schwartz
San Juan County Adult Detention Center as seen in April in Farmington.

FARMINGTON – San Juan County commissioners on Tuesday are scheduled to discuss two agenda items about the jail and juvenile detention center.

For the past seven years, the commission has set the daily rate for inmates at the jail and offered the formula-based fee to Farmington, Aztec and Bloomfield. That’s what commissioners are doing again this year, and the county’s formula calls for a more than 7 percent increase in the rate, according to county documents.

If commissioners approve the fiscal year 2017 rate of $65.14 — up from $60.66 — the elected bodies in the three cities would also have to approve the rate before it becomes effective. That would then be the rate each government would pay per day for inmates who were transported to the jail by their law enforcement officers.

“Every year, this is the process we go through,” County Operations Officer Mike Stark said.

And every year, the rate changes, according to county documents. The highest rate was in fiscal year 2014, which was $70.13, but then it dropped the next fiscal year to $66.16. The rate steadily rose the years before that.

The county, which operates the jail, calculates the rate using a formula based on the previous fiscal year’s operating costs. It then compares that number to how many inmates slept in the jail that year.

The other agenda item commissioners are scheduled to review concerns replacing a boiler and its control system at the juvenile detention center using new bond money.

Staff recommends commissioners approve spending about $365,000 to replace the old boiler and its control system.

In February, commissioners approved issuing $19 million in bonds for numerous capital projects around the county. That money would pay for the project, Stark said.

Juvenile Services Administrator Traci Neff said the next phase of the project is to replace two rooftop heating and cooling units. But an engineering report found the units have two to seven years left, though county documents say they could fail at anytime.

“These are critical systems that support the building,” Juvenile Services Administrator Traci Neff said. “We have to do this in order to operate.”

Dan Schwartz covers government for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4606.