DOWN: Since the November defeat of a sales tax issue that would have financed needed repairs and maintenance at the Hancock County jail, and helped address the continuing overcrowding at the jail, there has been little public dialogue about what to do now. The situation hasn’t changed. Friday’s total jail population was 115 at the 98-bed jail, which means 13 male prisoners were being held in Putnam County’s jail, and four female inmates were in Van Wert’s lockup. There’s no sign the occupancy rate will fall anytime soon. Criminal indictments topped 400 last year and there are currently 2,382 outstanding warrants in Findlay Municipal Court. Meanwhile, the jail, now in its 29th year, is still in need of security updates, including, of all things, new electronic locks for the doors. The maintenance needs haven’t gone away and the outside prisoner costs are likely to continue to rise beyond the $400,000 paid out in 2017. Something has to give, doesn’t it? Let’s hear Plan B.
UP: The job pays just $20,000, but it makes sense to shift the sanitary engineer duties at the county’s landfill back to one of the current employees of the Hancock County Engineer’s Office, a change the commissioners are considering. The county has been paying “jack-of-all-trades” Steve Wilson, a former county engineer, for handling the sanitary engineer duties even after he left the engineer’s office. It would seem a better task now for current Engineer Chris Long or Assistant County Engineer Doug Cade. Wilson has his plate full handling management services for flood-control projects in Hancock County while serving as the county’s liaison with the Maumee Watershed Conservation District and Stantec, the engineering company serving as a consultant for the county’s flood-control projects. It would seem “flood czar” is a full-time job and should be Wilson’s main focus.
UP AND DOWN: We have complained in this space about Findlay City Council’s too-frequent use of rushing city business through as “emergency legislation,” instead of going through the better process of having three separate readings before an ordinance is voted upon. Three readings give the public more of an opportunity to weigh in on city business. But council was justified this week in fast-forwarding a request to repair a collapsed sewer line that is causing a “sinkhole” in a Hunters Creek subdivision property owner’s backyard. Council approved $85,000 after waiving the three-reading rule, so as to quickly address the issue before it becomes even worse. While that’s a legitimate use of emergency legislation, it’s unfortunate the statute of limitations has apparently expired which prevents the city from holding developers of the subdivision financially responsible. Drainage issues have surfaced in Hunters Creek before, and the latest problem is more evidence of a poorly-designed development that continues to cost the city money.
UP: Now that it’s warm enough to venture outside, or will be soon, can we suggest something that will make your mail person, your newspaper delivery person, and anyone who may walk down your sidewalk happy? Please pick up a shovel and broom and clear the walks on your property and the area around the mailbox so vehicles and people can navigate and deliver mail, packages and, yes, newspapers, more easily. That’s all. Thank you.