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Cities rail against restrictions in county jail’s resolution on accepting municipal offenders

Donna Daniels

The Garfield County commissioners passed a resolution Monday allowing municipal prisoners to be housed in the new county jail.

But county municipalities are not happy with the restrictions in a proposed agreement that sets out what kinds of prisoners can be housed.

Currently, the jail will not accept prisoners who have not yet come to trial or been sentenced.

Silt filed a formal objection with the county, saying it needs a place to house its pre-trial and pre-sentence prisoners. It now transports those prisoners to jails in other counties.

County Attorney Don DeFord urged the commissioners to approve the resolution but continue to work on the agreement with the municipalities.

“It was intended to be a phased-in process,” DeFord said. “The sheriff wanted to see the impact of the sentenced prisoners” before he accepts other prisoners.

Martin said Carbondale and Glenwood Springs have also expressed similar concerns to him.

But taking pre-trial or pre-sentence prisoners, who would be looking to bond out of jail, would put a burden on the sheriff’s department.

“The sheriff’s concerned because (the jail) would be the bonding entity for all of the cities,” said Commissioner Larry McCown.

No reimbursement is set up in the proposed agreement to cover bond processing.

In other business, the commissioners would not back down on a lease agreement for a T-shaped hangar at the county airport that the builder said was too short-term to attract investors.

Contractor David Gordon proposes to build both T-shaped and box hangars at the east end of the airport. He asked the commissioners to consider a 30-year lease with two five-year renewal options plus a 20-year option. The county currently leases its land for hangars for a 30-year term with the two five-year options.

Newly hired airport manager Brian Condie said he surveyed various small airports in the state and found most of them have lease agreements for 25 years.

“To me, you’re asking us to alter our lease terms for (the hangar owner’s) investment (purpose),” said Commissioner Larry McCown. “I quite frankly think 40 years is pushing the limit of a lease. I’m more comfortable with 25. Sixty is off the scale.”


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