The Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio will survive the City of Toledo’s withdrawal from using the jail, but still wants $1.1 million in back payments it says the city owes.
“We know they’re going to dispute that amount, and if they don’t pay us we’ll consider litigation,” said CCNO Executive Director Jim Dennis.
According to calculations, the city owes that amount for 60 days of service it received before pulling its financial support of 228 inmate beds in July, he said. CCNO is demanding payment by Oct. 3; otherwise, it’s authorized to take legal action.
The jail’s concerns of financial instability caused by Toledo’s actions will be eased around Nov. 1, when the facility should receive a Community Corrections Act grant from the Ohio Department of Corrections to pay for 88 beds. They will be filled by diverted low-level felony prison inmates who don’t have mandatory sentences.
Earlier this year, CCNO received assurance of a separate state grant to pay for 40 beds earmarked for parole violators.
In addition, Lucas County reversed its decision to withdraw from CCNO, and in July agreed to include 100 more beds to its count of 203 beds.
Coupled with 55 beds funded by Fulton County, and those by Defiance, Henry, and Williams counties, CCNO should reach full capacity, Dennis said.
The facility reeled initially from Toledo’s decision in July to pull out of its long-standing contract to fund 228 inmate beds. That has left CCNO with a $425,000 monthly deficit it’s making up through reserve funding and other revenue. The lost funding also resulted in staff layoffs, the elimination of nine case manager positions, and unfilled vacancies from retirements and resignations.
But with the promised easing of financial woes, CCNO plans to hire new officers to fill the positions of those not returning from layoffs.
“Things aren’t good, but they’re not as bad as we thought they were going to be,” Dennis said.
The saga began in 2014, when former Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins ordered all arrests and citations be made under the Ohio Revised Code rather than city ordinance. That act transferred the city’s burden of almost 36 percent of CCNO’s annual budget onto Lucas County, which already had a separate contract with the jail for over $5 million annually.
The ensuing squabble between the city and county has caused Toledo to be late with payment to the jail. Because Toledo had the largest agreement for CCNO beds there was speculation the jail might have to close without its revenue.
Toledo Law Director Adam Loux said the city council last week authorized negotiations with Lucas County to subcontract CCNO beds for about 13 of the city’s municipal prisoners.
Dennis said CCNO said even with the present financial concerns CCNO will be fully funded with the new budget Jan. 1.
“We think 2017 is going to be a great year,” he said.
David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.