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Court program saves city money and time

Tribune editorial staff

Any time you can save money and/or time, it is a big plus. For 22 years, the Ironton Municipal Court has been able to do both.

Judge Clark Collins started the

program when he took office in 1982. It was one of the first community service programs in the state and has been looked upon as a model for other court systems.

Through its community service program, the court has saved the city an average of $250,000 each year for more than two decades, according to

Collins. This figure includes the cost of labor and jail housing expenses.

The cost to keep someone housed in the Lawrence County jail has increased from less than $20 to $50 per day.

Because of this continued inflation, Collins has said in these tough financial times that this program is just as important now as when he started it.

So not only does this save valuable local government tax dollars, but it also keeps our city and county looking good.

Continuous service projects include litter cleanup, landscaping and grass cutting all over Lawrence County, cleaning the Ironton City Center, maintaining small cemeteries in the townships and more.

Without these workers, city employees would fight a constant battle against litter at the Center Street Landing and would have to spend countless man hours cleaning up after the Memorial Day Parade.

In 2002 alone, Collins ordered 1,754 days of community service with each person working for six-and-a-half hours a day. If these 11,401 hours are multiplied by $5.50, these people provided the community with approximately $60,000 in labor. Additionally, if city employees had to spend time doing this work, less time would be spent on other projects.

While some people would question why "criminals" are let off easy, we see this as providing these people with a chance to give something back to the community.

If even one person who participates gains a greater appreciation of the county, then this program is priceless.