Franklin County commissioners, who have been locked in a battle of wills about assessments levied against the county Tuesday by the state Board of Corrections, will sit down with the state board’s executive director next week.

County officials have long been critical of the state agency, which oversees the county jails, about the state’s reduction of the Franklin County jail’s status five years ago to that of a three-day holding facility.

Franklin County was billed an additional $50,000 this fall by the state, in what was described as a one-time effort to close a $1.2 million shortfall in state funding for county jails.

Members of the state corrections board hope to fix the shortfall by getting additional funding approved by the Legislature in the next two-year budget cycle.

The county normally is billed twice a year for the cost of boarding out its prisoners who are incarcerated longer than the Franklin County jail’s 72-hour maximum; but county commissioners, after consulting with the board’s attorney, voted to pay only $315,000 of the $365,000 it was being billed. The jail was expected to be billed an additional $100,000 over the two payments this fiscal year.

County chairman Fred Hardy called the session a general meeting and said he is not sure what topics will be discussed by the parties.

“Though naturally, the $100,000 will come up,” Hardy said.

Hardy said Ryan Thornell, executive director of the state Board of Corrections, sent an email to the state’s counties offering to meet with anyone who was interested, and the county commissioners then invited him up to a meeting.

“And I said we should invite him on over. I thought it was an excellent opportunity,” he said.

Thornell did not return messages Thursday, but he said previously that the matter of the withheld payment is still under review by the board.

The county commissioners’ meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday in their meeting room on the first floor of the Franklin County Courthouse.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252

[email protected]

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