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Out of county contracts for group home OK’d

Contracts with Gallia and Fayette counties to house juvenile offenders in the Lawrence County Juvenile Center could be a way to bring more revenue into the center.

At its regular Thursday meeting Lawrence County Commissioners approved a contract for community residential services with the two counties to house juvenile offenders at a daily rate of $85 per bed.

With Lawrence having to pay other counties fees to house adult inmates, “it is nice we can be the beneficiary,” Commission President Les Boggs said.

About four years ago, the county was forced to find a new facility for the juveniles when the state refused to certify the Dennis Boll Group Home. At that time Mended Reeds, a private juvenile center on State Route 93, was looking for a buyer. That property was appraised at $1.2 million with the center’s officials asking for $800,000. The state provided $300,000 toward the sale price.

This year the commissioners certified $40,000 as the amount anticipated to come in from other counties for the juvenile center. Last year that amount actually came in from those sources at $65,000.

“Our first responsibility is to our kids,” Commissioner Bill Pratt said. “But if we can bring in more kids, that is an expensive facility to operate. But we would leave that up to Judge (David) Payne, (probate/juvenile court judge).”

In other action the commissioners:

• Received a request from Washington Township for Community Development Block Grant funds for $10,900 for a picnic shelter and beautification project;

• Changed the status of paramedic Kyle Parrill from part-time to full-time;

• Appointed Trish Saunders of the probate/juvenile court as the county insurance company’s health and wellness representative.