SKOWHEGAN (AP) — A court has ruled that Somerset County can use the revenue it receives for housing federal detainees to help pay the debt for construction of the county jail.

The ruling Monday was made in response to a lawsuit brought by the county against the state Board of Corrections for payment of more than $280,000 the county says it is owed for operating the jail.

County Administrator Dawn DiBlasi on Tuesday told the Morning Sentinel ( ) that the ruling was a victory that protects taxpayers.

The board had argued that it’s illegal for the county to use federal boarding money to pay jail debt.

Somerset County borrowed $30 million to build the jail in East Madison in 2008, and the annual debt bill is about $2.55 million.

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