Council wants conversation with commissioners

Chris Dunham

December 11, 2012

Wayne Allen

PDT Staff Writer

Acting Portsmouth City President Rich Saddler has proposed meeting with the Scioto County Commissioners about the possibility of the city receiving a portion of the county’s casino tax revenue. The idea was all but shot down during Monday night’s council meeting, but the notion of establishing ongoing conversations between the two was discussed.

Saddler had proposed asking the commissioners for 25 percent of the casino tax revenue they receive annually.

“I don’t think we should peruse that idea at this time. I do think we (council) should have some type of quarterly meeting with the county commissioners. You can even bring in the township trustees if you want. I think we need to communicate with the county,” Sixth Ward Councilman Steve Sturgill said.

Portsmouth City Solicitor Mike Jones said there is a lot of resources shared between the city and the county.

“A discussion may be valuable just for informational purposes for everyone involved. You are going to get into issues like the county dog pound, which they completely pay for. The transportation of prisoners, the county jail, these are all items the county pays for. They also pay for 40 percent of my staffs salary,” Jones said. “There is a lot of things the county contributes to the city and we do likewise for the county. My office is a county-wide office, I just don’t cover cases in the city. I cover cases throughout the county. There is a lot of give and take just in my office. There are similar agreements for police protection and other types of things.”

Jones said isolating one particular source of revenue would likely be a source of tension.

Saddler said he would like to see a discussion to see what the county is paying for on the city’s behalf and what the city is paying for on the county’s behalf.

“I would just like to see some numbers, I think we should get some of that money, because we are citizens of Scioto County. Take away the dog pound and all of these other issues these are already preexisting agreements,” Saddler said.

Jones said these are annual agreements with the county for those services.

Portsmouth City Health Commissioner Chris Smith pointed out that the citizens pay for dog tags and other fees to the county for the upkeep of the dog pound.

“We don’t want to have to figure out if our portion is enough,” Third Ward Councilman Nicholas Basham said.

First Ward Councilman Kevin Johnson said conversations like these should occur so both parties have an understanding of their relationship and not with the goal of going after any resources.

Johnson said once a representative for the fifth ward is chosen and once a new president of council is chosen it would be a good idea to reach out to the commissioners.

Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or wallen@heartlandpublications.com.