Albany County and the city of Laramie will have until July 1, 2020, to negotiate a replacement to a 1992 agreement that currently allows Laramie to house municipal prisoners for free at the county jail.
In his last meeting as chairman of the Albany County Commission, Tim Chesnut urged the new county board to begin negotiations with the city.
Before leaving office this month, Chesnut served on the commission for 20 years.
If the two parties do not negotiate a deal by the middle of 2020, the 1992 agreement stipulates that the municipal prisoners shall continue to be housed for free until those arrangements “are specifically revoked by affirmative action of the county.”
That agreement came after Albany County bonded for $3 million in 1989, when voters approved a tax to help construct a new county jail. However, the jail project later cost the county much more than originally expected, creating a funding shortfall of $2.4 million.
The city agreed to cover 85 percent of the shortfall by issuing more revenue bonds.
In return, the county offered to house municipal prisoners for free.
“I don’t really have any intention of keep giving interest to the city when they’ve been paid back principal and interest,” Albany County Commissioner Heber Richardson said this month. “The city has come out ahead on this by a lot.”
Laramie city attorney Bob Southard said the city hasn’t set a starting position for negotiations.
Sheriff David O’Malley said the impending end to that agreement has been on his mind since he became sheriff in 2010.
“I felt it needed to get worked on sooner than later, and it didn’t,” he said.
When Chesnut brought a renewed focus to the issue this month, O’Malley said that neither he nor Laramie Police Department chief Dale Stalder should be involved in the negotiations.
Their involvement, O’Malley said, would be “straining” for their relationship.