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City, county closer to LEC deal

By Staff | Aug 2, 2013

The city of Rugby and Pierce County came a step closer to uniting on a long-debated and awaited Law Enforcement Center agreement at its biannual meeting on July 29.

At the LEC board’s first meeting of the year, a tentative agreement appeared to be in place, but the agreement penned by State’s Attorney Galen Mack and sent to the city was not signed.

Under the proposal, the Heart of America Correctional and Treatment Center would house city and county prisoners free of charge as long as the center was turning a profit.

At issue was a piece of language in the agreement that would force the city to pay half of the cost for adult prisoners at HACTC who were arrested for crimes committed in the city of Rugby and prosecuted in district court.

The board, which is made up of members of both the city council and county commission debated that point.

The county, in essence, believed that costs for crimes committed in the city should be shared.

City representatives, argued that the previous agreement had each side paying for its prisoners: Municipal court prisoners by the city and district court prisoners by the county.

“Medical charges will be the responsibility of the jurisdiction,” said city council member James Hoffert. “I think we were on the same page in January.”

Council member Arland Geiszler said the cost wouldn’t be prohibitive, likely around $3,000 a year, but he wanted the same standard applied to both the city and county.

“Is everybody being treated the same?” Geiszler asked.

LEC board chair Joe Bohl, also a county commissioner, said he was tired of the agreement being unresolved and promised that an agreement would land in the city’s hands sooner than later.

The county commission meets on the first Tuesday of every month and will likely tackle the issue at its August meeting.

Before the meeting ended, Hoffert was unanimously voted as the next LEC board chair, replacing Bohl, whose term had expired.

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