HUNTERDON COUNTY, NJ - At a Hunterdon County Board of Chosen Freeholders meeting Dec. 30, it was announced that the county will be moving on a shared service agreement with Warren County for housing county inmates.

According to a release, Hunterdon County authorized an official 30-day notification to Somerset County to end the current month-to-month agreement they have for housing inmates.

"There are operational improvements and additional cost savings that can be achieved for Hunterdon County taxpayers by moving to the Warren County correctional facility," Hunterdon County Sheriff Fred W. Brown said in the release. "The proposed new agreement will enhance the operational efficiency of the county's correction program and ensure a more streamlined processing experience for inmates within our custody."

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Brown said it is only about 9 miles farther to go to Belvidere in Warren County than Somerville in Somerset County, which would not be a problem for the transportation of inmates.

According to the release, Hunterdon and Somerset counties entered into an agreement for jail consolidation in September 2015, which led to a number of cost savings for Hunterdon County. The counties, the release said, have been on a month-to-month agreement since the initial one expired in September 2019.

"We greatly appreciate the relationship our county had with Somerset County because it saved significant tax dollars," Freeholder John Lanza said, according to the release. "Hunterdon County benefited from the professional service of Somerset County Sheriff Frank Provenzano and his staff. The county is now moving on to a relationship with Warren County that is even better for the taxpayers."

According to the release, the shared services agreement will be considered this month by both freeholder boards. Hunterdon County is anticipating a savings in excess of $250,000 with the new agreement.

The release said the sheriff's office is anticipating beginning to house inmates at the Warren County facility by February.