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Officials seek to justify jail cuts



Published: Wed, March 17, 2010 @ 12:10 a.m.

Conference with US judge is today; tax hike ruled out

By PETER H. MILLIKEN

milliken@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

It’s not realistic to expect the Mahoning County jail to be maintained at current staffing levels based on downward revenue trends, county officials said.

“We just don’t have the revenue to support the jail at 100 percent as we have the past couple of years,” said Commissioner John A. McNally IV after Tuesday’s commissioners’ meeting.

McNally spoke on the eve of today’s informal, closed-door status conference with U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster in Cleveland concerning the county’s request to lay off one-third of its sheriff’s department personnel and close half the jail March 28 due to its budget woes.

Participating in that conference, which starts at 9 a.m., will be city and county officials and lawyers for inmates who won a class-action lawsuit over jail crowding.

McNally said he hopes all parties leave the conference with a clear understanding of the county’s financial predicament.

“I don’t think we’re going to have any resolution to anything. I don’t think you’re going to have any final answers,” McNally said of the conference.

His observation was confirmed in a notice Judge Polster filed Monday, saying the conference is “informational only” and won’t produce any court action.

“If appropriate, any future action in this case will be taken by the entire three-judge panel” supervising the jail under the consent decree that settled the inmates’ lawsuit, Judge Polster wrote.

The loss of jail income from city and federal inmates and declining income from interest on investments and the county’s sales tax have negatively affected the county’s budget, regardless of whether the half-percent sales tax is renewed May 4, McNally said.

“It is impossible to allocate, with this decline in revenues, the amount of money to keep the jail at full staff without a tax increase,” said county Administrator George J. Tablack. “This is absolutely the wrong time, in this economy, to be proposing a sales-tax increase.”

“There’s not going to be a tax increase. That’s not something the board of commissioners has ever discussed, and we’re not discussing it,” McNally said.

Last week, the county’s budget commission reduced its estimate of this year’s general fund revenues from $57 million to $54 million. General fund revenues were $66 million in 2008 and $57.2 million in 2009.

The Mahoning-Columbiana Training Association’s One Stop office stands ready to provide r sum writing, job re-training and placement assistance to any laid-off sheriff’s department personnel, Bert Cene, MCTA executive director, told the commissioners.

The commissioners’ next meeting will be at 6 p.m. March 24 at the Mahoning County Board of Developmental Disabilities workshop at 825 Bev Road.


Comments

1theword(342 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Of course it is a lot of positions for the county our size that is shrinking.

There should only be a county manager running the county not three commissioners making how much a year for a part time job..

Do you think that the commissioners will cut thoses positions to save money? Or how about Tablack salary?

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2lidieo3(23 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Ohio revised code says what the commissioners salary is. It is 75,000 a year for very part time work. I believe that it also increases with cost of living. The administrator is the one that is entirely over paid. Well over 100K. They need to cut PERS contributions to match the private sector.

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3mrblue(981 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

A very interesting point. Do we need 3 commissioners ? It seems that the county is top heavy with administrators. If the above figures are correct, we as taxpayers are not getting our moneys' worth.

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4eagle911(17 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

I AGREE WITH ALL COMMENTS ABOUT THE COMMIISSIONERS AND TABLACK SHOULD BE LAID OFF AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. ALSO IF THE JAIL IS TO GO TO HALF CAPACITY THEN ALL THE JUDGES SHOULD ALSO TAKE A PAY CUT ALONG WITH ALL OF THEIR STAFF. THE JUDGES DON'T WORK A 40 HOUR WEEK AS IT IS.

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5PHISHIE(105 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

There are other possibilities.The problem the county faces is sio old!!! WHich is and has been nepotistic politicians that can not think outside of the proverbial box. Many of the prisoners can be sent home. They are doing time for low end misdemeanors and such. They can be sent home with a ankle monitor. If the prisoner violates his or her home restrictions, then he or she goes back to jail. The jail birds doing time for serious crime need to stay behind bars. The low end first timers and non violent jail birds should go home with a monitoring device to do their time........Also, what about other depts. The commissioners need to reduce dept budgets accross the board, not just the jail. PHISHIE

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6Nutty1(6 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Instead of sitting here bitching about how no other county department is taking cuts you should do your homework and learn something. If i can remember correctly 3 Tax Map employess completly lost thier jobs (combined 82 years exp.) and two GIS employess also lost thier jobs recently after taking pay cuts lastyear! There are plenty of county departments taking cuts now but the problem is the ones that should be pitching in to help out AREN'T! So before you sit on here and BITCH about how other people need to do this or that you should just worry about yourself!

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7bob041(20 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

lumpy "maybe we should elect successful businessman/woman and not career politicians "

this is so ture i have been saying this for years

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8redvert(2064 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Nutty1 wrote: "There are plenty of county departments taking cuts now but the problem is the ones that should be pitching in to help out AREN'T! So before you sit on here and BITCH about how other people need to do this or that you should just worry about yourself!"

Good point old Nutty!, I retired 11 years ago thus there was one less cutback. Have you done the same

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9Nutty1(6 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Done the same??? LOL...is losing your job considered a cutback?

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