Portsmouth-The Scioto County Board of Commissioners opened its regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday by reading a letter from Scioto County Sheriff Marty Donini which was received in response to a letter commissioners sent out on August 22 in regards to the Juvenile Detention Center.
The letter from Donini stated that while he previously had an interest in utilizing the detention center for housing adult inmates, and even offered to use a portion of his own budget to make the necessary modifications required the commissioners instead have allowed the counseling center to use the facility at little to no cost to them. Donini stated now his budget has been severely decreased and he now has no renewed interest in the use of the facility.
“We will probably do whatever we can to help the sheriff within reason,” stated Commissioner Mike Crabtree. “But the reality is what it is, and from a common sense point of view we have very little control over our revenue stream. The state of Ohio has a lot more to do with our shortfalls and deficits than we do. The MCO [Tax] thing has cost the county in excess of four million in revenue below what was requested in everybody’s budget.”
Crabtree stated that much like someone living off unemployment, decisions needed to be made at the point that loss originally occurs rather than wait until funds run out. Crabtree stated that several years ago funds were so tight that commissioners did not have it in the budget to repair the courthouse roof and after conservative measures were able to complete the project. “We’ve tried to make conservative decisions here, we don’t try and take shots at anybody, but I’d like to remind people that the sheriff’s budget is the largest next to the county engineer. The reality is we try to work with the sheriff as much as we can and we understand he has problems, of course we do too. We’re going to have to figure out since there’s no relief in sight over revenue if we’re going to be conservative up front,” said Crabtree.
Crabtree stated the commissioners have to have capital in reserve for emergency situations and are hoping the sheriff will work with them to do that. “We’re not going to wait until there’s no decisions to make,” said Crabtree.
Crabtree stated other offices have worked with commissioners to make do with the budget, and hopes that the letter from the sheriff is not an effort to begin taking shots at one another just to make someone look bad. “We’re here to make the tax dollars go as far as they can, that’s what we’re elected to do,” Crabtree said. “We’re trying to do the best we can by the county, while at the same time keep things open here at the court house. I know that being said we have lots of issues to face this year and I’m glad we have the two commissioners I have to work with.”
Crabtree stated that people incarcerated stretch beyond the jail and are in counseling centers and under house arrest and all these people are restrained one way or another and an effort needs to be made to reduce these numbers.
Commissioner Bryan Davis added that in his time as a commissioner he has never seen a proposal from the Sheriff regarding the use of the facility and stated that the counseling center provides a great deal of maintenance services for the juvenile detention center.