Warden Kenneth Repsher informed the rest of the Wyoming County Prison Board on Tuesday that nine prisoners are currently being boarded in Susquehanna County.
“It’s getting a little tight again,” Repsher said. “I hope we don’t have to send more out.”
Prison board member and Wyoming County Commissioner Tom Henry noted that they have just received a “pretty hefty bill’ from Susquehanna County for the prisoners boarded at the jail.
According to the warden’s report, Wyoming County was charged $14,775 in May to board some of its prisoners outside the county.
Public Defender Steve Franko reported that criminal court is scheduled this week, and this could help alleviate some of the situation as inmates are sentenced.
Overcrowding has been an on-going problem at the jail for more than a year, with the county having to spend a considerable amount of money to house prisoners outside the county. Although the jail’s population dropped to below capacity around the first of the year, the situation quickly changed within a month, with prisoners continually being housed in Susquehanna County.
Total cost to house inmates outside Wyoming County is now $71,220, a figure which could climb higher before the year is out.
Following the prison board meeting, the Wyoming County Commissioners held their regular meeting, in which they recognized the efforts of three people in creating a website application for the Dietrich Theater’s Historic Walking Tour.
The commissioners commended Mike Biro and his sons Evan and Adam Biro for volunteering their time and talents in creating the application, which will be incorporated in the Dietrich Theater’s website.
Previously, information on the Historic Walking Tour was available on a printed brochure provided by the theater.
Mike Biro said that he developed the application, incorporating the information from the brochure. Adam Biro said he helped design the applications visual aspects, and Evan Biro said he tested the application and made suggestions for improvements.
During public comments, Lori Bennett, executive director of Wyoming County Special Needs Association, spoke about problems she had encountered at the courthouse because she was in a wheelchair. Bennett has to use a wheelchair because she recently had surgery performed on her foot.
Bennett said she had problems getting inside the courthouse because she couldn’t open the door. She suggested that a system be incorporated, so the door could be opened via the push of a button.
Bennett also explained that she could not get into any of the downstairs offices unassisted, due to a lip located at each of the doorways. She also pointed out that although there is a handicapped stall in the restroom, a person in a wheelchair cannot close the door.
Henry said they would look into the matters to see what could be done.
Chief Clerk Bill Gaylord informed the commissioners that a compressor pump at the 9-11 center will have to be repaired. Bids were accepted for the project, and the low bid was $6,700, he said.
The commissioners voted to promote Carl Roberts and Jessica Smith from part-time to full-time corrections officers at the jail. The commissioners also voted to hire Alexi Butler as a part-time cook at the jail; Anthony Artrip and Michelle Collett as part-time correctional officers; and Elizabeth Foster as a part-time administrative assistant to the district attorney’s office.
Judge Russell Shurtleff informed the commissioners via a letter, that he was requesting a pay increase for Rhea Baldwin because she had recently received certification as a court reporter from the College of Court Reporting.
On the advice of solicitor Paul Litwin, the commissioners decided to wait until a salary board could be held at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, July 19 to consider the matter. The salary board includes the commissioners, the judge, and the county treasurer.
In another letter, Shurtleff also informed the commissioners that law clerk Arraine Slocum has given notice that she is resigning, and Jessica Marie Ebert has been hired to take her place.
The commissioners also held an executive session in which several matters were discussed, but no action was taken.
Among the matters discussed was a civil case filed against Wyoming County District Attorney Jeff Mitchell. Henry said the county has also been named in the case, and they are making certain everything is in place.