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Farmington wants to put limit on jail expansion

SHARE Farmington wants to put limit on jail expansion

The City Council is proposing an agreement with the Davis County Sheriff's Office that would limit expansion of the jail population in the city to a maximum of about double what it is now.

The City Council filed an appeal earlier this month to halt Planning Commission approval of a proposed work center that would house more inmates on Farmington's west side. It is now considering rescinding that appeal, because the county may agreed to place limits on its maximum expansion plans.Mayor Greg Bell said the jail now has 368 beds. However, the sheriff's long-term expansion plans could increase that total to at least 942 and as many as 1,100.

"We say 942 is too many," Bell said. "A doubling of the population is a maximum."

Bell said he wants to compliment the county on its expansion plans that will not cost taxpayers more money, but he and the council believe it is time for the county to decentralize its jail complex in the future.

Beyond a total of 680 prisoners, the county should look to other Davis County cities for future jail facilities, he said. The city attorney will draft such a proposal on jail limits to the county.

County officials believe housing prisoners in one central area is the most economical method because it can use the same infrastructure, laundry and other facilities. They also believe Farmington has a responsibility for being the county seat.

Councilman Gary Elliott likes the expansion limit but also has other concerns about the increasing jail population in the city. He's not sure the city's fire department is adequate to safely serve a 600-plus inmate population.

He believes the city would need at least two full-time firefighters to serve such a large jail complex. The current city fire department is only part-time.

Elliott also wants the county to help pave the frontage road on the west side of I-15 to Centerville. That would give the sheriff's office, as well as west Farmington residents, another access to south Davis County.

"It shouldn't cost too much," he said.

The council voted unanimously to also include its fire department concerns and frontage road development into the proposed agreement with the county.