- Associated Press - Thursday, April 17, 2014

FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) - Pinal County is giving the federal government notice that the county intends to cancel its money-losing contract to house federal immigration detainees in the county jail.

The county Board of Supervisors voted last week to authorize a 100-day cancellation notice, and County Manager Greg Stanley sent the notice to Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Wednesday.

The county intended for the contract initially signed in 2006 to help pay for construction of the new jail, but county officials say the per-day rate the federal government pays to house hundreds of detainees at a time has turned out to be a money-loser.

The county says it’s been nearly two months since it heard from ICE regarding possible changes in the contract.

Every week that goes by without an agreement costs the county another $55,000,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Antony Smith said. “To continue to run this clock costing the taxpayers is something that I find unacceptable.”

ICE officials said they value their relationship with Pinal County but acknowledged the sides have been unable to reach an agreement.

The agency said it was confident it could find alternate housing for detainees if no agreement is reached with the county.

County officials don’t want to end the contract but need to make it fairer for both sides, Stanley said. “At the current rate, Pinal County taxpayers are subsidizing federal costs for detention.”

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