STRYKER – Members of the Corrections Commission of Northwest Ohio took care of a lengthy agenda during Wednesday’s meeting to include adopting a 2013 budget – a slight decrease from this year’s budget – as well as adopting bed allocations, finalizing three union agreements and lifting a hiring freeze.
Board members adopted the 2013 budget totaling $14.8 million — almost $4,800 less than the 2012 budget — amounting to a .03 percent savings. The per diem rate for 2013 stands at $63.70, down two cents from 2012. Budget savings include employees paying more for their health insurance coverage although they will receive pay increases for the next three years following contract agreements. Mr. Dennis noted that the CCNO budget has dropped each year for the past five years amounting to a cut of $1.7 million and 22 positions.
Another savings for officials comes by changing how the capital improvement budget is financed. In years past, a per diem rate had been established with each jurisdiction having to pay a per diem rate, adding to the overall budget. That rate was as high as $1.25 and stood at 75 cents per diem in 2012, which generated about $174,000. Officials designated that the capital improvement budget will be funded through revenues received from the offender telephone services vendor. In the past phone revenues were returned to the jurisdictions as a credit on their quarterly invoices.
The change in how the capital improvement budget is financed was made due to hardships experienced by jurisdictions when their revenues decreased, Dennis said, and the new procedure will be a better way to fund improvements to the aging facility opened in 1990. Improvements scheduled for 2013 include an upgrade in security technology, parking lot improvements and roof repairs.
Bed allocations for the six jurisdictions that use CCNO will remain the same for 2013.
Of the 638 total beds, Defiance County reserved 60 beds; Fulton County 52 beds; Henry County 36 beds; Lucas County 198 beds; City of Toledo 240 beds; and Williams County 52 beds.
Board members also:
• Lifted a hiring freeze allowing for the hiring of new officers at CCNO. There are currently 88 officers although 92 are budgeted for 2013. New officers will be hired after January. Mr. Dennis said CCNO’s turnover rate has increased from 3 to 10 percent while staff overtime has increased drastically in 2012 because CCNO was funded to close a 60-bed unit. Instead, the facility became crowded and overtime was required.
• Approved union contracts with three groups – corrections supervisors, corrections officers and case managers. Due to the concessions taken by the union on employee health insurance premium co-pays, increased office visit co-pays and prescription drug co-pays an agreement for a three-year contract was reached to include wage increases for the duration of the contract. Under the three contracts, the health care premium co-pay will increase from 7.5 to 12 percent. Wages increases will be issued for 2012 thru 2015. Board members also authorized the same benefit package for non-union staff.
• Approved the 2013 budget for the electronic monitoring program totaling $452,425.48. CCNO receives a $259,366 state grant to offset personnel costs. Other costs include monitoring equipment and office rental. Revenues come from fees charged to electronic monitoring participants. Mr. Dennis said more higher risk offenders are being placed on the program, reducing the use of jail beds, and that the electronic monitoring program has a 90 percent success rate.
• Approved the use of capital improvement funds to purchase a replacement gas kettle for the kitchen at a cost of $16,584 and an updated fingerprint system at a cost of $14,195. Current equipment is obsolete.
• Accepted a sole bid from Superior Uniforms out of Toledo to provide staff uniforms for a three-year period. The company is the current supplier.
• Changed the competitive bid amount from $25,000 to $50,000 in regards to advertising for bids to purchase items as allowed by state law.
• Authorized the use of $76,800 in the employee health insurance reserve fund to buy down employee health insurance premiums for 2013. Without the buy down, a 4 percent increase was projected.
• Granted a request to spend up to $50,000 to purchase computers to be Microsoft Windows 7 compliant with the use of available technology funds.
• Advised of continued plans to implement inmate video visitation. Mr. Dennis said plans call for placing up to two video visitation units in each housing unit, helping to save staff time and reduce contraband concerns. A link would also be created with the Lucas County jail. For an additional $25 fee internet visits would be allowed. All contact visits will be discontinued.
• Advised that Wednesday’s inmate population stood at 575 or 90 percent. Mr. Dennis said the population has averaged 92 to 95 percent. The population averaged 585 in August and 591 in September.