Match money found for marine patrol grant

Published 11:11 am Friday, May 23, 2014

Coming up with the match so the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office can keep its marine patrol will come from the fund that pays for the utilities at the jail and out-of-county inmate housing.

The Lawrence County Commission approved transferring $5,000 from the jail fund to match a grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

The match could not be made until the commission transferred the money into the grant fund because all of the sheriff’s money had already been appropriated.

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The sheriff’s office has gotten approximately $16,500 to fund the salaries of an 11-member marine patrol and maintenance on the department’s boat for the past 18 years. The boat is provided by the state on loan and could have been called in if there had been no money to finance the program.

The marine patrol handles everything from checking fishing licenses to rescue and recovery efforts.

Also at its regular Thursday meeting Commissioner Bill Pratt provided updated figures on possibly moving the county jail to the now closed Ohio River Valley Correctional Facility in Franklin Furnace. The county would use a 100-bed unit for the jail with the remainder of the facility to be taken over by STAR Community Justice Center, a rehabilitation facility next door.

On May 12 Pratt, County Prosecuting Attorney Brigham Anderson and Sheriff Jeff Lawless met with state correctional officials about a possible lease arrangement to make the move to Franklin Furnace. The county wants the state to continue ownership of the facility and pay for the maintenance and utilities. The county also wants a variance from the state to reduce the number of corrections officers needed there to 32.

Right now the county estimates that move would cost approximately $2.4 million. However, if the state takes over the utilities and maintenance, that figure would be reduced by $225,000. If STAR provides the food service for the jail, that cost would be cut by another $100,000.

“But that is still a lot of money to come up with for the county,” Pratt said.

The state has not responded to the county’s lease and variance requests.

The commission also honored Harriette Ramsey, one of the founders of the Concerned Citizens of Burlington, who was inducted this week into the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame.

Commission President Les Boggs said he first met Ramsey in 1998 at a Concerned Citizens meeting.

“It was obvious to see who was the leader at the Concerned Citizens,” he said. “I’d like to commend her on her smile and graciousness … the many good things she has done to improve her community.”

Sheriff Jeff lawless also called Ramsey a true leader.

When I came to the sheriff’s office in 1986, Burlington park was no place to go,” Lawless said. “She and others have been instrumental in straightening that out. Harriette has a lot to be proud of.”

In other action the commission:

• Approved the contract between the county department of job and family services and the Callos Companies to provide employer of record services for the DJFS summer youth program;

• Accepted the resignation of Shane Gossett and hiring of Laura Kuhn at the DJFS;

• Accepted the weekly dog warden report where no dogs were destroyed, 30 were adopted or went to rescue and no dogs were redeemed by their owners.