The Monroe County Commissioners had a short meeting day on Sept. 8, meeting only with Monroe County Sheriff Charles Black Jr. and Zane Daniels of the Columbia Pipeline Group.
Sheriff Black spoke to commissioners about the progress on talks on building a new jail. He said his office has been negatively impacted in various ways by the necessity of housing prisoners at other county jails and he is hoping for a decision soon.
According to Sheriff Black, his office is projecting a cost of $120,000 to $130,000 to house prisoners from August through the end of the year and have only $20,000 left in the prisoner housing fund. He said the prisoner housing fund isn’t the only part of his department being affected. “The overtime is killing us,” said Sheriff Black. He noted that most of his office’s overtime comes because of transporting prisoners to far-flung areas. He said transporting prisoners is also affecting fuel costs, case loads and patrols in the county.
Sheriff Black also gave specific examples of what his department must do to house prisoners. He said last week he had two female prisoners. He had to “practically beg” Licking County to house one. The other female prisoner was placed on house arrest at the Olive Tree Inn.
“I hate to be a broken record on this, but we’re going to have some significant issues by the end of the year on housing,” Sheriff Black said.
Commissioners told Sheriff Black that a meeting is scheduled between them and Prosecuting Attorney James Peters for the Sept. 15 commissioners’ meeting at 10 a.m. in regards to the jail. Commissioners also said they will soon be meeting with a representative of Ross, Sinclaire and Associates to discuss feasibility of the jail.