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Jail troubles might leave county liable

State jail authorities say overdue reports about repairs to Lawrence County Jail deficiencies might cause the county liability problems.

Friday, November 19, 1999

State jail authorities say overdue reports about repairs to Lawrence County Jail deficiencies might cause the county liability problems.

County commissioners Thursday forwarded a letter to Sheriff Roy Smith from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction concerning "plan of action" forms that address deficiencies at the county jail.

Those findings came from a July state inspection of the facility, which found the jail did not meet several state standards.

The Bureau of Adult Detention has yet to receive the action forms, which are 30 days late, and the jail is risking liability if "documented concerns remain uncorrected, especially in the absence of plans to do so," the letter stated.

The county will ask the sheriff to finish the reports, send them to the state and furnish a copy to the commission, commission president Bruce Trent said.

The action plans must list corrections that are finished and that are being planned to meet state guidelines on air conditioning, visitation, waiting areas, recreation areas, mail and inmate grievances.

Work on the action plans has been finished but officials will check whether or not they have been delivered or lost en route to the state, sheriff’s department Chief Deputy Jim Cochran said.

Most of the problems have been taken care of, though, like the air conditioning and policies, Cochran said.

Commissioners purchased a building AC unit and installed it this summer, shortly after complaints of ill effects caused by high heat and humidity.

Deficiencies concerning waiting areas or a recreation area will pose problems for the jail because of its lack of space, Cochran said.

The health department has also checked over the jail and found no problems with living conditions, he said.

– Held a public hearing about landowners’ requests for annexation into the Village of Proctorville, but made no decision.

This spring, Tony Fulks, who owns the property west of the village’s corporation limit, requested annexation of property that includes the sites of the BP Oil Co., McDonald’s, a vacant tract of land and nine additional acres west of the 31st Street Bridge.

Landowners want village services and are willing, Fulks wrote in a letter to commissioners Thursday. Commissioners also heard annexation support from Proctorville Mayor Jim Buchanan.

Also in a letter, Union Township trustees disagreed with the annexation plan. The township stands to lose tax revenue if it succeeds.

The county will not rush the decision, commissioners said.

– Received bids for construction of the Chesapeake Southeast Ohio Emergency Medical Service station, but took no action.

Low bidders were H.K. Contracting Group for general construction, $145,000; United Plumbing for mechanical construction, $37,500; and McDaniel Electric Co. for electrical construction, $17,899. All bids were below estimates, architect Bob Dalton said.