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Consultant to negotiate for higher jail fees

Voters getting another crack at municipal aggregation

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Sheriff Michael Harn

OREGON – The Ogle County Jail may be getting more money for housing federal prisoners.

The County Board gave Sheriff Michael Harn the OK to hire Joseph Summerill and the Summerill Group to negotiate with the U.S. Marshals Service for the amount it pays to board federal prisoners at the jail.

The Marshals now pay $62.45 per prisoner per day.

The 2013 budget estimates the county will receive $1.1 million this year for boarding prisoners from other jurisdictions.

Summerill is a former Marshals Service employee and has experience negotiating this kind of contract, Harn said.

"There's a great possibility we can get an increase in the per diem," he said.

Summerill's fee of $35,000 will be paid only if an increase is achieved. "If he fails, he won't get paid," Harn said. "I think this would pay for itself in the first quarter."

Summerill has been able to secure substantial fee increases as well as improved terms in the contracts for other counties and municipalities that he has represented, Harn said.

Also at the Jan. 15 meeting, the board approved putting electrical aggregation back on the ballot on April 9.

The measure, if approved by voters, will allow the county to buy electricity for residents and small businesses as a whole, or aggregate. Proponents say the larger group purchase likely will mean lower rates.

Ogle County voters rejected a referendum for electrical aggregation in March, 2,314-2,417.

Board member Lyle Hopkins said that since the measure was approved in Pine Creek Township where he lives, electric bills have been substantially reduced.

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