Mahoning County commissioners have approved a one-time $40 reception fee to be charged to newly convicted and sentenced county jail inmates beginning in 30 days.
Sheriff Jerry Greene said the fee can be collected from inmates’ commissary funds, and he hopes it would amount to $40,000 to $60,000 in annual revenue. “We book between 6,500 and 8,000 (inmates) a year,” he said. The fee allows the sheriff’s office “to recover some funds and push the costs back onto those who break the law.”
The reception fee to help pay inmate-intake costs, which commissioners approved Thursday, was one of a series of revenue-generating proposals Greene made.
They included the $175 filing fee that took effect last Friday for bank foreclosures, which is designed to raise $200,000 a year; a one-time $25 sex-offender registration fee that will take effect Monday, which is designed to raise between $10,000 and $15,000 annually, and fees for criminal background checks that took effect Feb. 1, which are designed to raise $20,000 to $30,000 annually.
The sheriff’s office now takes applications for concealed gun-carrying permits five days a week, he said, adding that he thinks that expanded schedule will attract more applicants here.
Greene, who assumed office Jan. 7, upon the retirement of Sheriff Randall Wellington, said he has been discussing with the U.S. Marshals Service the reintroduction of revenue- generating federal inmates to the county jail.
With new revenues, Greene said he hopes to have the main county jail fully open in late March or early April. Portions of that jail have been closed in recent years due to insufficient funding.
The commissioners also adopted a resolution in support of a $2.4 million Ohio Environmental Protection Agency grant for cleanup of the Mahoning River at Lowellville. That village tentatively has been awarded this grant for removal of an old industrial dam at First Street in the river and some 20,000 cubic yards of industrially-contaminated sediment behind it.
The commissioners allocated from their general fund administration budget category $125,000 to the Ohio State University Extension Office in Canfield and $100,000 to the Mahoning Soil and Water Conservation District.
They also approved a $6,690 contract with Environmental Protection Systems LLC of Girard for asbestos abatement and disposal in parts of the county-owned Oakhill Renaissance Place, 345 Oak Hill Ave. Pete Triveri, county facilities director, said asbestos insulation needs to be removed from pipes that are being relocated.
Bill Coleman, office manager at the county sanitary engineer’s office, said Tom Hill, regional supervisor for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, which regulates oil and gas drilling in the state, plans to attend the commissioners’ 10 a.m. meeting next Thursday in the county courthouse basement to discuss environmental issues concerning CNX Gas Co.’s Blott Road well in Jackson Township.
Clark Jones, county emergency management director, said 46 of the county’s 51 emergency warning sirens sounded in Wednesday’s siren test, with sirens failing to sound for various reasons on McGuffey Road and at Paul C. Bunn Elementary School, Fellows Riverside Gardens, the Canfield Township garage and New Middletown.