Sgt. Mony Wood met with council at Monday evening’s regular meeting to request an increase in the fee charged to outside agencies for using the jail, and to advise council members that the jail, which has always been restricted to men, is now open to women, as well. The Ohio Department of Detention approved housing female inmates there Monday, Wood said.
Council approved an increase in jail fees from $40 to $45 per day, effective Jan. 1. The new rate will place the cost of housing an inmate there at $5 above the rate charged by the county jail, but considerably less than other facilities in the region. The Southeastern Regional Jail in Nelsonville, for example, charges $70 per day for men and women inmates. Washington County charges $60 per day, and Jackson County $50.
The jail has been a significant money maker for the village since it was re-opened to outside inmates earlier this year. Wood said it has generated $19,000 so far this year, by housing inmates of the county sheriff and Pomeroy Police Department, as well as Gallia County Sheriff and Gallipolis City Police Department.
Wood said the village has a reciprocal agreement with Gallia County. The Middleport Jail houses that county’s male inmates when necessary in exchange for allowing space for Middleport’s female inmates.
Wood said the new policy prohibits men and women in the jail at the same time, and said women inmates can only be housed in the Middleport Jail when there are no male inmates, or only when those men can be housed elsewhere at no cost to the village.
He said the sheriff’s department had transported two women to the Washington County Jail, at a cost of $60 per day per inmate, and that the Gallia County sheriff’s department had already inquired about housing women in the Middleport Jail.
Wood said the new Pomeroy municipal building, which is expected to be open by Dec. 1, includes an eight-hour holding cell, which could affect revenue Middleport receives from Pomeroy for housing its prisoners in the Middleport Jail.
In other business, council approved hiring two part-time cook/janitors for the police department. The current full-time cook/janitor, Debbie Wells, has been hired to replace daytime police dispatcher Randy Carpenter, who plans to retire soon.
Debbie Engle, Middleport, and Maria Mattox, Pomeroy, were hired for three days each. Hiring part-time workers instead of one full-time worker will save the village money on insurance and other benefit costs.
• Approved payment of bills in the amount of $4,655.27.
• Approved a transfer of interest for the cemetery fund.
• Approved hiring Leslie Edwards as a part-time police officer, on an as-needed basis.
• Met in executive session to discuss pending litigation.
Present were Council members Rae Moore, Jean Craig, Craig Wehrung, Sandy Brown, Shawn Rice and Julia Houston, Mayor Michael Gerlach and Fiscal Officer Susan Baker.