Local Politics

N. Idaho commissioner fights jail lease plan

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - A northern Idaho county commissioner has filed a legal challenge to the county's plan to lease a new jail facility.

The Coeur d'Alene Press reports that Kootenai County Commissioner Jai Nelson announced the challenge in a statement on Tuesday.

Nelson says voters rejected jail bonds in 2005, 2008 and 2009 and the plan to lease a jail is circumventing the process.

The Kootenai County jail has faced overcrowding for years, and pays about $800,000 annually to house offenders at other jails.

So the county is looking into a deal with Rocky Mountain Corrections. Under the plan, the private company would build a 625-bed jail and the county would lease it.

A hearing is planned Friday where 2nd District Court Judge John Stegner will determine whether the lease is constitutional.