- Associated Press - Thursday, July 17, 2014

CASA GRANDE, Ariz. (AP) - In a development that could cost some Pinal County jail employees their jobs, the federal government has rejected the county proposal that it be paid more to house immigration detainees.

The county had notified Immigration and Customs Enforcement in April that it would terminate the county’s money-losing contract unless the federal agency accepted the county’s proposal to raise the daily per-detainee payment rate.

County officials learned of the rejection on Tuesday, just 10 days before the contract’s expiration, the Casa Grande Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1mUElFn ) reported.

The county intended for the contract initially signed in 2006 to help pay for construction of the new jail. However, county officials say it has turned out that the county’s taxpayers have been subsidizing federal costs for detention.

The county proposed increasing the daily rate per detainee to $87.96 from $59.64.

The number of detention officers and employees who could lose their jobs as a result of the contract’s cancellation has not been determined, but county officials’ estimates in the past have ranged from 100 to nearly 200.

County Supervisor Steve Miller said that canceling the contract could save the county up to $3 million annually.

“We just approved a 2.5 percent raise for our employees that cost us about $2.5 million, so if we can save $3 million a year, that would help right there,” Miller said.

The Board of Supervisors in June approved a new reduction in force policy, in part as a contingency in the event of the contract’s termination.

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