GRANTS PASS, Ore. — The city of Grants Pass is paying to rent jail beds from the county, but the cost to rent doubled without warning. The city council said on Wednesday night, they felt “blind-sided” by this new cost, paying for 11 months’ worth of jail beds and jail staff.
Originally, they expected the contract cost to be half a million dollars because that was the quote the sheriff’s office gave on Monday during a city council workshop. Now, the county is saying it will cost a million dollars.
Despite the difference, city council voted 7 to 1 to move forward. The contract is for 30 beds for 100 dollars per day. NewsWatch12 spoke to the sheriff and a county commissioner about why the numbers jumped.
The sheriff says the employee in charge of finances was sick for a week, so he came up with the cost and presented the estimate to commissioners. County commissioners say they didn’t receive any word about the cost of the contract till this week. They say mis-communication is to blame for the cost difference.
“We submitted our numbers to the commissioners. It was based on what we saw as the cost. And once we gave it to them, they did what they did. You’ll have to ask them,” stated Josephine County Sheriff Gil Gilbertson
“It’s unfortunate that numbers were discussed…We always try to back everything up with talking with our finance department, our CFO, and that’s where everybody needs to go first to find out what are the real numbers,” said Josephine County Commissioner Simon Hare.
The county says the million dollars will go toward not only opening those jail beds, but hiring six jail deputies and providing food and medical services for the inmates.
The jail beds will be available for offenders arrested in city limits. City council is now figuring out how much to take from the general fund and halting city projects to pay for the contract.