City and county work toward a resolution on jail fees

City Attorney Chris Brown (Source: KAIT-TV)
City Attorney Chris Brown (Source: KAIT-TV)

MISSISSIPPI COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - A lawsuit between an area city and county that started in January of 2014 may finally see a resolution soon.

A dispute between Blytheville and Mississippi County started back in 2014.

A disagreement over jail fees caused the city to stop payment and forced the county to sue.

Initially, the city won in circuit court but the county appealed it.

In February 2018, the Arkansas Supreme Court reversed the ruling to be in favor of the county.

But, they also redefined "municipal prisoner" based on three categories:

On a felony, the city is responsible from intake to the charge.

On a misdemeanor, from intake to sentencing.

And for a city ordinance, from intake to release.

Before, the city was billed from intake to release on all prisoners.

City Attorney Chris Brown said this ruling will save the city millions of dollars.

"The county and the city have exchanged some figures," Brown said. "In 2014 the county had estimated the city owed them around $250,000. Based on the new definition that the supreme court handed down, at first glance, it's looking like we're going to owe about $68,000."

Now the city and county have met to determine a set amount that the city owes.

They will both audit the amounts based on the new definition from the Arkansas Supreme Court.

Mayor James Sanders said the city is now working well with the county to determine a new agreement of how much the city will owe for municipal prisoners in the county jail going forward.

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