The Scioto County Commissioners approved a grant Tuesday, which is geared toward the Ohio Department and Rehabilitation/Correction division.
That grant was effective as of Dec. 5 and ends on June 30, 2019. The total amount of the grant was $484,342, which will be broken up into two payments.
The first payment of $290,605 will be distributed in 2018. The second payment of $193,737 will be designated for the fiscal year of 2019.
According to the Chairman of the Scioto County Commissioners Bryan Davis, the purpose of the grant is to provide funds to the common pleas municipal and county court probation departments, and community based correctional facilities to adopt policies and practices, based on the latest research to reduce the number of offenders on probation supervision who violate the conditions of their supervision.
“This grant is basically a replacement grant, for their previous grant,” Davis said. “It really was a convoluted mess.”
Davis said the issue with the grant began when the state started working on their budget. During the uncertain time at the state level, the Commissioners covered the salaries for several employees in the probation department.
“We’ve had to pick up their salaries, at a hefty amount off of the general fund because they literally lost their grant funding,” Davis said. “It would have been catastrophic for the probation department if we didn’t do that because it covered multiple salaries.
“But again, this is a cost that a lot of people don’t see that we’re absorbing. Our probation department is overwhelmed with the number of people on probation right now, because of mostly drug offenses to be honest. It’s really putting a huge toll, financially, on the county.”
Because of the state budget process, the grant was delayed, forcing the Commissioners to fit the bill for the last 12-16 weeks, approximately. Davis also estimated the County picked up a tab worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, funding the probation department, until the grant arrived.
“I have to believe that we are not the only county that got stuck with a cost that we should not of had to cover,” Davis said.
The County has no opportunity for reimbursement, even though the grant has finally arrived.
“Trust me, we haven’t been real happy about it,” Davis said. “It’s just another situation where things didn’t happen the way they should’ve happened and any time you’re waiting on grant money, that’s a dangerous scenario.”
Davis said the state budget is a slow process. It all starts in the legislature. It begins with creating a budget and passing the budget. Then the affected entities have to have time to digest what they received from the legislature.
“It was really dragged out this past year,” Davis said.
Fellow Commissioner Mike Crabtree has been no proponent of the state legislative process or the tax cuts over the past few years that have been implemented from the State.
” … The State cuts your funding, then they tell you what you’ve got left, and then they come down and ask you why your broke,” Crabtree said. “Well, if somebody sticks a gun in my ribs in a back alley and takes all my money, I don’t have to explain why I’m broke to that thug because he already knows.”
Crabtree didn’t mince words about the way the legislation is ran at the state level.
“They way I look at it — if the State is going to do what they’re doing to us, we need to get together and try to get a petition up there to where nobody that has not had to tolerate at least one term as a commissioner to deal with their antics at the statehouse, would not be allowed to serve up there. That’s the way I feel about it. Maybe I’m wrong.”
Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1927, or on Twitter @crslone.