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County needs real answers

The back and forth between the county commissioners and the sheriff is beginning to become a bit ridiculous.

It seems weekly that Sheriff Jeff Lawless presents his concerns about whether he will be able to actually fund the move of the county jail to the defunct Ohio River Valley Juvenile Correctional Facility in Scioto County.

An analysis by the county of the cost to operate the jail at the ORV for one year would cost an additional $1.3 million on top of the $1.5 million jail budget.

This is a move the commissioners have already told state officials would happen, so why isn’t there an urgency to come up with the funds?

Replying to the sheriff’s concerns are commissioners who present very different solutions — which aren’t really solutions — to the problem.

Commissioner Bill Pratt has said the sheriff could make the move with his current staffing levels, while the sheriff insists he needs a staff of at least 32 to operate the jail safely.

On the other hand, commissioner Les Boggs said this week the county could spare $900,000 toward the cost of the move, but that’s the best they can do.

Of that figure, $500,000 may not even be available because the auditor has said he would not approve the spending of it.

So that’s $400,000, but still only a fraction of what the sheriff said he needs.

As of now, the county is no closer to relocating its jail than it was last year when it accepted the facility from the state and it seems the sheriff is the only one who has a sense of urgency on the matter.

The jail move is not the sole responsibility of the sheriff. County officials need to step up and offer a real helping hand.