City Council passes ordinance for sheriff’s contract

| December 23, 2014

COSHOCTON – Coshocton City Council gathered Dec. 22 for a special meeting to give a final reading to ordinance 46-14, which authorize the mayor or service director to enter into a contract with the Coshocton County Sheriff for law enforcement protection for the city.

Before council was given an opportunity to vote on the ordinance Mayor Steve Mercer informed them that what they had was not the final copy of the contract. There were still a few minor details to be ironed out between the city and county, but City Law Director Bob Skelton was present and went over the changes with council.

Currently the sheriff’s office has one detective, three road deputies per shift (there are four shifts), one support staff and four dispatchers (one per shift) dedicated to the city.

“That will remain the same for the first six months of the contract, but could be reduced for the second six months,” Skelton said.

The contract between the city and the sheriff’s department begins Jan. 1, 2015, and ends Dec. 31, 2015, and is for $719,020.44 or $119,836.74 per month for the period of Jan. 1, 2015 to June 30, 2015. The contract fee for the period beginning July 1, 2015 and ending Dec. 31, 2015 will be $679,474.38 or $113,245.73 per month. As part of the contract, the city also agrees to place an income or real estate tax levy on the ballot in May and if it fails again in November 2015 in order to raise revenue for safety services purposes. Negotiations for a new agreement provided the levy passes shall commence after six months with the objective of negotiating a five year contract to provide stability to the sheriff and city. If the levy fails, negotiations for a new agreement shall commence in November 2015. If a five year contract can be negotiated the parties shall seek a phased in return to full staffing.

“I’m an optimist about the levy, but we are going to need all boots on ground to make it happen,” Council President Cliff Biggers said. “I’d rather go once and not have to come back with the levy.”

Since the contract was not finalized, council could have tabled the issue and held another special meeting before the end of the year, but they decided to vote on it and unanimously passed the ordinance.

“We are in total support of you and feel working with the sheriff’s office is the most efficient way to provide law enforcement for the City of Coshocton,” said the Mayor. “The tough part for us is figuring out how to fund it. Our negotiations have nothing to do with what we think of the job you are doing, only how we can make it all work.”

City Council also was pleased to have one of its hometown hero honorees present at the meeting.

1SG Jason McCormick is the grandson of Councilman Jim Baker (and I’m proud to say the cousin of this reporter) and was one of the first local soldiers honored at a council meeting. He is currently stationed at Fort Polk in Louisiana and has been in the U.S. Army for 15 years. McCormick has done two tours in Iraq and three in Afghanistan. When he retires from the Army he would like to return to Coshocton or at least some place in Ohio.

“We are grateful for what you do and thank you for coming to see us in person,” said Councilman Brad Fuller, who organizes the hometown hero salutes.

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Category: Government

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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