LACONIA — Belknap County Commissioners Wednesday approved an agreement with Hillsborough County for housing local prisoners at their Department of Corrections in Manchester.
The one-year agreement is designed to help Belknap County deal with crowding at its correctional facility in Laconia. It calls for Belknap County to reimburse Hillsborough at the rate of $57.50 per day per prisoner but also makes Belknap liable for all expenses associated with hospital or health care services as well as security services associated with outside medical services.
County Administrator Debra Shackett said that it was an ''after the fact agreement'' as prisoners have already been transferred to Hillsborough County from the overcrowded Belknap County House of Corrections, which has a capacity of 120 but has had as many as 151 inmates in recent months.
''We've already received our first bill for the month of September and that was for $15,000'' said Shackett.
She said that eight or nine Belknap County inmates are currently being held in Hillsborough County. ''We have 14 out in three different counties,'' said Shackett, who added that other inmates have been transferred to Grafton and Carroll county facilities.
Shackett said that the county currently has bills for $31,000 for inmates being held out-of-county.
She said that House of Corrections Superintendent Dan Ward was working closely with Belknap County Sheriff Craig Wiggin to arrange for the transportation of prisoners back to Belknap County ''as soon as we have space.''
She said that the logistics of such moves are being looked at to try and ensure that as much as is possible those prisoners who are being brought back won't have to be subsequently transported out of the Belknap County facility.
County Commissioner Stephen Nedeau (R-Meredith) asked how many inmates were on work release or monitored by ankle bracelet and was told that there are 12 in each category and that is the maximum amount allowed by regulations.
''We have as many people out there as can be supervised,'' said Shackett.
County Commissioners, who last week requested the transfer of $52,000 to cover the Corrections Department cost overrun, will try again next week when the Belknap County Convention meets, to win approval of that request.
The convention's Executive Committee passed over the request, declining to act until they had an opportunity for study.
The convention is scheduled to meet next Tuesday at 3 p.m. at the Belknap County complex.
Commissioners also received a letter from the town of Gilford regarding the Lakes Region Mutual Aid appropriation, which will be dropped from next year's county budget.
The letter pointed out that as a result the Gilford municipal budget will increase by $78,162 since it will be paying Mutual Aid directly, and that the county budget will decrease by $554,037.
Gilford selectmen requested that commission reduce the county tax rate so that it would be commensurate with the increase in municipal tax rates caused by the change.