SCIOTO — The Scioto County Commissioners had a lengthy agenda Thursday morning, taking on varying topics in its hour-plus regularly scheduled session.
Among those topics was the establishment of a new fund for the work release program, comprised of those on probation and jail inmates. At the Scioto County Common Pleas Court’s request, Commissioner Bryan Davis said the need for their own fund was apparent so they can receive funds from other entities.
One of those entities, the Ohio Department of Transportation, is willing to send $10,000 a year for work on state routes, the money effectively offsetting many of the costs attached with the program like feeding the workers.
“This will enable them to have that fund and be able to grow that fund to have those dollars available where they’re not going back constantly asking for appropriations,” Davis said, thanking Common Pleas Court Chief Probation Officer Shawn Davis, the judges, Sheriff David Thoroughman, and everyone involved in the program. “It’s another money saving, time saving move.”
If the program receives increased funding, more action could come to a problem that both the commissioners and Portsmouth City Council say tarnishes the area’s reputation: litter.
In the very meeting where the commissioners provided updates on economic development plans such as the Southern Ohio Aeronautical Regional business park, Davis said the county’s litter problem holds itself back from fully realizing the progress that can be done.
Davis said he spoke with City Manager Sam Sutherland just Wednesday on the topic, where the next major focus on city litter will take place on Pleasant Avenue near Scherer Hollow. Asked about reported garbage on Coles Boulevard, he was unaware of such an occurrence but said he would be in contact with Sutherland.
“It’s just terrible,” he said, describing Pleasant Avenue in the city’s 6th Ward. “People are using the sides of our roads as trash bins.”
Litter crews are going out twice-a-week now, but its work can be altered due to coronavirus guidelines. Inmates of the Scioto County Jail, who again provides a portion of the labor in the work release program, is still in most cases not allowed to get out and work. Members of the Structure Therapy Advocacy and Restoration Community Justice Center in Franklin Furnace have also been unable to use.
This has forced the county to rely on probationers, a limited amount leading to scheduling difficulties. Davis hopes starting next month that the county will have more access to that group.
“We don’t want all these people in these communal settings in our jails, so they’re trying to keep people separated,” he said, later mentioning the Scioto-Lawrence Solid Waste District as a helping party in these works. “We’re almost there where we’ll be able to do more.”
Far from just a Scioto County issue, Davis said neighboring Lawrence County has encountered a similar situation regarding litter. The situation is one that befuddles him and one that he has been outspoken against in the past.
Once again, he asked county residents to do their part in mitigating the problem.
“Hold on to your trash, put it in the house, find a bin to put it in, but don’t throw it on our streets,” Davis said. “The bottom line is there are companies looking at our area right now as we speak and when they visit our area, they want a clean community to move to.”
“When they see trashing lining the roads, they don’t want to come here. The job you’re impacting could be yours.”
Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3101 ext. 1931, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.
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