By EMMALEE C. TORISK
Lawmakers urged city residents to speak out against a bill for about $70,000 issued by Mahoning County for the housing of inmates in the county jail who face municipal charges.
The city was billed for the cost last year, said George Levendis, city council president, who added that it was “the first time in 60 years” Campbell had received such a bill. The bill was resubmitted almost immediately after the city’s release from fiscal emergency in early October, and the county demanded payment in full.
“We’re on the hook for this money, but this council doesn’t feel it’s fair, and we’re going to fight it a little bit,” said Levendis, during Wednesday’s council session. “It’s up to [the county commissioners] to decide what they want to do, but we’ll fight as far as we can fight.”
Levendis indicated, too, the city received no prior notice of the bill — which meant administrators and council hadn’t figured out a way to appropriate that money, or even come up with ways to reduce those costs altogether, such as sending fewer prisoners to the county jail.
In addition, a portion of residents’ tax dollars already go toward the housing of prisoners, Levendis said, so it’s unfair for the county to bill them again. He suggested that citizens contact the commissioners, which will hopefully lead to further discussion — and maybe a compromise.