By NANCY TULLIS
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Mahoning County commissioners are scheduled to vote tonight whether to give a county recycling contract to the sheriff's department.
On tonight's agenda for commissioners to consider, at a 5 p.m. meeting at Smith Township Hall, is an "agreement with the Mahoning County Sheriff's Department for recycling-litter collection programs in the amount of $73,000."
Some of the work includes placement and removal of recycling bins, collection of roadside litter, pickup of aluminum cans collected by pupils and staff from 21 schools, and collection of household batteries from library collection points.
Commissioner John McNally IV said Monday he hasn't yet decided how he will vote on that contract.
Commissioner Anthony Traficanti declined to comment on the contract before the meeting. Commissioner David Ludt could not be reached to comment.
Commissioners met for about two hours July 14 with representatives of the sheriff's department and Community Corrections Association to hear why each wants the contract.
Richard Billak, CCA director, said CCA has had the contract for 12 years and has invested at least $100,000 in equipment for the program. The current contract, which was for $154,277, expired June 30, but CCA workers have continued the recycling duties.
Billak said CCA clients benefit because the recycling work counts toward their community service requirements.
Billak and other CCA staff said their concern about the sheriff's proposal to use day-reporting inmates would be reliability.
Billak said his agency uses both day-reporting inmates and those in residential programs.
Day-reporting inmates, who report to their assignments from home, are often unreliable.
Sheriff Randall Wellington and staff said misdemeanor inmates are already performing roadside litter collection and grass and weed cutting, and day-reporting inmates could handle the recycling tasks.
The sheriff and his staff emphasized the inmates working in the recycling program would be nonviolent, misdemeanor offenders.
Wellington said in his written report that day-reporting inmates have about 20,000 days to serve. He said the program would help expand the day-reporting program in efforts to reduce jail costs and create revenue-earning potential for the county's general fund.