FARMINGTON — Franklin County commissioners voted to pay the Board of Corrections its $315,288 semi-annual payment as a good faith gesture.

The commissioners voted 2-1 on Tuesday evening to make the April 30 payment, which they previously had decided to withhold pending an investigation into the actual amount owed to the state.

As part of the jail consolidation law, the county raises a capped amount of $1.6 million in taxes each year to run the jail. This year the cost to operate the jail as a 72-hour holding facility is around $1.1 million and the rest of the money is supposed to be paid in semi-annual payments to the Boad of Corrections which distributes the funds to other jails, such as Somerset County’s, to compensate them for taking prisoners from Franklin County.

The county, however, has maintained that the $315,288 may be more than the county owes because the Franklin jail’s transportation costs for moving inmates between jails increased after the Somerset County Jail stopped accepting Franklin inmates, and inmates had to be transported to more distant jails.

County Clerk Julie Magoon said that by making the payment, the county may have paid the state more than what they needed to, but two of the commissioners felt they should still do so.

Commissioner Fred Hardy voted against the motion to make the payment.

Franklin County Sheriff Scott Nichols said he recommended that while the county is in the process of trying to get the jail relicensed, the county should not risk the Board of Corrections using a missed payment as a reason for not reinstating the jail.

The Department of Corrections sent an inspector last week to see if the building was able to operate as a fully functioning jail, Nichols said. He said the inspection went well and the facility was declared capable of being fully functional, including the kitchen being up to code.

He said the inspector suggested the jail update current policies and re-assign which rooms are designated as maximum, medium and minimum security in order to add bed space.

Nichols said that he and Doug Blauvelt, jail administrator, will meet at 1 p.m. today with a subcommittee appointed by the Board of Corrections to discuss the county’s request to reinstate the jail.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252
[email protected]