Ottawa County Commission chairman Russell Earls will negotiate an agreement to absorb Delaware County's excess prisoners.

District Attorney Eddie Wyant and Ottawa County Sheriff Terry Durborow briefed the commission on Monday regarding the crowded conditions in Delaware County and a related compliance order.

Due to overcrowding, the Oklahoma Department of Health issued an Administrative Compliance Order against the Delware County Sheriff's Department and is threatening penalties of up to $10,000.00 per day for each day the jail exceeds maximum capacity.

Wyant advised commissioners on Monday that the Ottawa County Jail can opt not to renew its contract to house Department of Corrections prisoners upon its expiration on June 30, 2009. The sheriff would then have an opportunity to contract with Delaware County to house its prisoners at a rate equal to that paid by the Department of Corrections, alleviating the overcrowding problem and allowing Delaware County time to decide on a permanent plan of action.

Sheriff Durborow would require the Contract be in effect for a period of five years, include male prisoners only, and require Delaware County to bear responsibility for all related medical treatment and transportation expenses of its prisoners.

To fund the possible solution, the Delaware County Public Facilities Authority is considering a one-tenth of a cent sales tax. The question would go to Delaware County voters on a Jan. 13 ballot.

If approved, the Delaware County would begin receiving sales tax collections in April.