MAHONING COUNTY Landfill contract adds to revenue

The county could use the new cash to help fund five new assistant prosecutors.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Mahoning County expects to realize $250,000 to $300,000 in annual general fund revenue under a new landfill deal.
Commissioners approved a change Thursday to the 1991 contract with BFI for the Carbon Limestone Sanitary Landfill in Poland Township.
The county will receive 30 cents per ton on all municipal solid waste that BFI brings in from beyond a 175-mile radius of the landfill.
In exchange, BFI can bring in 500 tons more trash per day from outside the 175-mile radius, but still can't exceed the overall daily limit of 6,500 tons, based on a weekly average.
The deal brings the county a new revenue source without bringing in more garbage, said Commissioner Anthony Traficanti.
The new fee is expected to generate $20,000 to $25,000 per month starting in October.
Traficanti said the deal is the first of what promises to be new ways to generate nontax revenue for the perpetually tight general fund. Other area landfills will be approached to start contributing such a fee, he added.
To go to general fund
Right now, all tipping fees go toward the county's solid waste operation. The new fee is the first to go toward county general fund operations.
The new cash may go into a capital improvement fund or to offset general fund shortfalls, Traficanti said.
In addition, the new deal calls for magazines, catalogs and junk mail to be accepted in the curbside recycling program.
The new material collections will start in about a month for 76,000 homes, said Jim Petuch, director of the county's Reuse & amp; Recycling Division. The additional collections will increase the county's recycling rate, he said.
More assistant prosecutors
The new cash will come in handy, especially since on Thursday commissioners also approved hiring five new full-time assistant prosecutors, one per common pleas courtroom.
The idea is that the faster cases are processed, the faster inmates are drummed out of the county jail. The strategy is meant to thin out the jail population and remedy its overcrowding issues.
About 240 of the 325 inmates in the jail are there awaiting trial, Prosecutor Paul J. Gains told commissioners.
Having two assistant prosecutors per courtroom will leave a pair of cases ready for trial at all times, Gains said. If one trial falls through, prosecutors and defense lawyers in another trial will be ready to go, he said.
Commissioner John McNally IV said he and his colleagues will review the two-prosecutor setup in six to nine months to see if the jail population is declining. If not, changes can be made, he said.
Even if cases are resolved faster, the associated paperwork remains without any more court staff, which concerns some county officials.
McNally, a lawyer, said more pleas expected because of faster prosecutions could mean less paperwork. Even if paperwork does become backlogged, McNally said he'd rather have that than have the county paying $68 per day plus medical expenses per inmate awaiting trial.
Commissioners appropriated $190,000 to pay for the new assistant prosecutors through the end of the year.
With the new prosecutors come new salaries. Assistant prosecutor salaries were raised from an average of $45,800 to $54,000, Gains said.
Candidates would decline job interviews when they learned the old salaries, he said.
New prosecutors will start at $42,500 annually but current lawyers needed raises to reflect their experience, Gains said.
The $54,000 average remains $6,000 per year less than city prosecutors make handling misdemeanor cases, Gains added.

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