Jail sharing agreement ends if Las Vegas and North Las Vegas can’t reach deal

North Las Vegas city officials plan to end a jail-sharing agreement next year with the neighboring city of Las Vegas if the two sides can’t reach a consensus on how to cut costs.

The five-year deal was already set to expire July 1, 2017, but North Las Vegas City Manager Qiong Liu said that she wants to “work together to provide cost effective and efficient services for our community,” in a letter delivered June 28 to Michele Freeman, head of Detention and Enforcement in Las Vegas.

How exactly that cooperation takes shape remains up in the air.

North Las Vegas could reopen its own jail, but it’s unclear how much money that would save the city.

In a statement, a Las Vegas spokesman said the city hopes to strike up a revised deal that’s beneficial to both sides.

North Las Vegas was in the midst of a budget crisis in 2012 when the deal was reached aimed at saving several million dollars by closing the city’s detention center and laying off 85 jail staffers.

North Las Vegas paid $26 a day for each male inmate in fiscal 2016, supervised by jail staffers from North Las Vegas in a separate wing. Female inmates from North Las Vegas and those placed in isolation each cost $140 a day because they are supervised by a separate jail staff employed by the city of Las Vegas.

Las Vegas city officials said they collected more than $27.7 million over the past four years to cover jail space, food, booking and medical costs of inmates coming in from North Las Vegas. Nearly $7 million of that was accrued in fiscal 2016.

Both cities agreed last year to split the cost of a $54,700 consulting contract with Kirchhoff & Associates to look for cost savings and staffing efficiencies that could have been overlooked four years ago.

The consultant released a report in September that laid out eight options aimed at potentially changing the landlord-tenant relationship to a “long term partnership” between Las Vegas and North Las Vegas. Some options call for continuing to share services, while others call for consolidating workers into a single, unified staff.

Officials are studying the recommendations but haven’t indicated any preferences and could potentially go in a different direction.

The eight options are:

■ Build a $9.1 million isolation unit with 54 cells for inmates who need to be separated from the general population at the Las Vegas Detention Center, relocate booking to the North Las Vegas jail, hire 36 staffers and consolidate staffing with a $5.6 million annual operating cost.

■ Build the Las Vegas isolation unit for $9.1 million, relocate booking to North Las Vegas jail, hire 36 workers and continue to share services with a $5 million annual operating cost.

■ Build the isolation unit and replace the administration building to handle booking at the Las Vegas Detention Center for $10.4 million, hire 16 more staffers and continue to share services for $2.2 million annually.

■ Build the $9.1 million isolation unit, hire 16 workers and continue to share services for $2.2 million annually.

■ Build areas for isolation, booking and release at the Las Vegas Detention Center for up to $24.1 million, hire 16 workers and consolidate staffing for $2 million annually.

■ Don’t build the proposed isolation unit in Las Vegas, relocate booking and isolated inmates to North Las Vegas jail, hire 63 workers and consolidate staffing with an $8.2 million annual operating cost.

■ Don’t build the isolation unit in Las Vegas and relocate booking and isolation to North Las Vegas jail. The plan calls for hiring 71 workers, with Las Vegas officers handling booking, while North Las Vegas would oversee isolation, with a $10.7 million annual operating cost.

■ North Las Vegas officers would oversee all isolation, booking and release services at the North Las Vegas jail, while all inmate housing would be handled in Las Vegas. Construction and retrofitting of the facilities would cost up to $225,000. An additional 164 staffers would be hired, with shared operating costs running up to $21 million annually.

About a year after the joint-jail pact was struck, the two cities examined whether they could become partners and share services in about 10 other categories, including animal control, traffic operations, business licensing and information technology.

After several months of study, a partnership was not reached because it wasn’t deemed to make sense financially or strategically, said Delen Goldberg, a North Las Vegas spokeswoman.

Contact Art Marroquin at amarroquin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0336. Find @AMarroquin_LV on Twitter.

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