Commissioners ask for help from Judge Collins

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 3, 2005

It was often said in elementary school that you should not bring treats unless you have enough for the whole class. Ironton Municipal Judge O. Clark Collins Jr. will soon get a reminder of that rule courtesy of the Lawrence County Commission.

In early February, Collins gave the City of Ironton $100,000 he had saved up over 15 years from court cost fees. The money had been earmarked for technology upgrades, but he felt the need of the city was greater than the need of his court.

The Lawrence County Commission is itself staring down the barrel of a budget crunch, and they decided in their Thursday meeting to remind Judge Collins of that fact in a letter requesting similar funds for the county.

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"He gave the city $100,000 and we just felt like we helped him down there, and if he could give the city $100,000 he could give us $100,000," Chairman George Patterson said. "Š And we need it."

Though Collins had not yet received the letter, he didn't think it was too likely he would be able to offer much help at this time. He feels that his first responsibility is to the city, which provides most of his funding.

"We're comparing apples and oranges, approximately 90 percent of my budget, the municipal court budget, comes from the city, that's the reason I helped the city," Collins said. "If [the commissioners] are going to do that, they need to look to their own county court up there which they totally fund."

Commissioner Jason Stephens did just that. After Patterson made the motion to request funds from Judge Collins, Stephens motioned that a similar letter should be sent to Lawrence County Municipal Judge Donald Capper.

Though the forecast was negative for a quick cash infusion, Collins did not rule out offering some aid at a later date.

"If we're able to look at it later on, we may be able to help them a little bit, I'm not opposed to helping the county when we can," Collins said. "Right now, we're a little short, and I don't want to endanger the court's operation in any way."

In other business, the commission met in Executive Session with attorney Mark McCown concerning a contract matter and approved the Union Rome Rockwood Force main Replacement Phase I-Construction Modification 1.

The commission also approved and Patterson signed the resolution allowing the county to participate in the Ohio Department of Transportation's contract for purchasing road salt for the 2005-2006 winter.