What’s latest SCORE? Auburn working on answer in jail cost-sharing

Federal Way leaves partnership at the end of the year

The city of Federal Way announced on Sept. 4, 2018 it would end its 11-year-old partnership in the seven-city-owned, South Correctional Entity Regional (SCORE) jail in Des Moines on Dec. 31, 2019.

It entered into that partnership in 2007 for the same reasons the other cities did: to cut the rising costs of housing its misdemeanant inmates.

News of Federal Way’s intention to withdraw was unwelcome to the remaining founding partner cities of Auburn, Burien, SeaTac, Tukwila, Des Moines and Renton, as they would have to shoulder a greater share of the financial burden.

At a recent Auburn City Council study session, Shelley Coleman, Auburn’s financial director, told members of the City Council that SCORE’s governing body has since created a subcommittee to oversee a financial alternative study, the aim of which would be to reduce costs and increase revenues.

It hired BERK Consulting to conduct the study. That committee has since met four times. It should release the findings of the study this month.

Based on what it shows, Coleman said, SCORE’s board could restructure how it allocates the part of the jail’s budget that is not covered by revenues from the member cities.

Given current interest rates, Auburn’s annual debt on the original, 30-year Building America Bonds SCORE issued to pay for the jail’s construction is $300,000. Although the bonds are not tax exempt for their holders, SCORE provides a subsidy every six months to offset the difference between those bonds and tax exempt bonds, Coleman said.

Coleman said that Auburn’s average daily population of inmates between April of 2018 and Jan. 31 31 of 2019 was 64. Each agency’s version of that number is important as it determines how much each pays in the following year. Missing from Auburn’s ADP at the moment are the counts for February and March, and those will be added in April to create a full year of data.

To date, Auburn’s 64 ADP is lower than Renton’s, Federal Way’s is behind Auburn’s, and all other cities show a much lower average than the three big cities above.

Average daily booking among SCORE’s contract agencies is 69 to date. The agency with the highest ADP is The Washington Department of Corrections, followed by the cities of Shoreline, Redmond, Bellevue and Lynnwood, and behind those are the remaining 33.

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