Focus on county business

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 19, 2015

Lawrence County’s commissioners have been pretty busy lately: Trying to get Pete Rose reinstated into baseball, offering to sell tickets for the Great River Raffle and fundraising for a replica courthouse in Burlington.

These are all worthwhile projects, but are they the kinds of projects county taxpayers are paying its elected officials to concentrate on?

What the commissioners do on their own free time is their own business, but using office hours and the time of their administrator to send out emails urging support from other county commissioners to reinstate Rose into baseball is just a waste of taxpayers’ money.

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That time could and should be used to come up with a real solution as to how Lawrence County is going to fund the jail’s move to the former Ohio River Valley Juvenile Correctional Facility, or, more likely at this point, what to do with all the inmates once the current jail is shut down for noncompliance of state census regulations.

County office holders also should not peddle raffle tickets. Endorsing the Great River Raffle is one thing, but using office hours to sell tickets seems an irresponsible use of resources and time.

Time after time, sheriff Jeff Lawless has implored the commissioners to help him form a budget that would support the jail move. So far, they have signed a lease and placed a non-existent $500,000 in a special line item.

It’s apparent that nothing short of the state closing down the county’s current facility will light a fire under anyone to form a real plan with a real solution with real dollars.

It’s time to start thinking of new ideas. If the move can’t be funded, put a nail in that coffin and move on to discussing housing plans with other surrounding jails.

This isn’t a problem that is going to go away and it can only be solved with everyone working together with the county’s best interests at heart.