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County seeking millions in grant dollars



The county is seeking close to a half-million dollars in grants to address two disparate concerns: maintaining the county work farm and cleaning up slum sites.

At its regular Thursday meeting Lawrence County Commissioners approved applying for grants from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections and the Ohio Attorney General Demolition Program.

The county is seeking $200,000 from the state corrections department that will go toward salaries and upkeep costs at the newly formed work farm where jail prisoners and those on probation can work through the day and be allowed to return home at night.

The farm’s mission is to reduce overcrowding at the county jail; provide inmates with work training; and provide produce for the jail and senior citizen centers.

“This is to sustain the farm,” Dan Palmer of the Ironton-Lawrence CAO, said after the meeting.

The funds would supply salaries for the farm coordinator, foreman and two probation officers who transport and guard the prisoners.

“And we need this money for additional costs to keep the farm going,” Palmer said. “We literally started out with zero money. There were a lot of initial costs.”

Commissioners also authorized applying for $223,000 in demolition funding to clear out dilapidated properties throughout the county.

“This is going to be huge to remove slum and blighted properties,” Commissioners Bill Pratt said.

Typically the county has between $30,000 and $50,000 in funds to spend to tear down blighter properties.

“That would tear down about 10 houses,” Pratt said.

The grant could fund demolition of approximately 40 structures.

County Treasurer Stephen Burcham reported that so far $1.99 million has been received from the second-half tax collections and currently the county has a cash balance of $5.6 million. Taxes are due on July 20.

In other action the commissioners:

• Approved consulting agreements for design work and/or drilling for repair work for County Road 6 and Township Road 207;

• Approved a 75-cent an hour raise for the county emergency medical services director and office manager;

• Received correspondence from Burcham requesting $1,602 for office equipment damaged during recent remodeling;

• Received the weekly dog warden report where 22 dogs were destroyed; four were sold and none were redeemed. There were 58 dogs in custody this week.