The city of Toledo must pay the nearly $1.3 million bill for the third quarter of operating the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio by July 1.
But if Toledo decides to drop out of the Corrections Commission of Northwest Ohio, which operates CCNO, it can do so by simply not paying the bill for 60 days.
That sets up a situation where Toledo could be out of CCNO by September.
Dennis Sullivan, director of security and operations for CCNO, said that’s the result of a decision handed down by a Lucas County Common Pleas Court judge, Monday, June 27.
The ruling was in a civil court action between Lucas County and Toledo after the late D. Michael Collins, former mayor of Toledo, changed the way criminals are charged with crimes, shifting incarceration costs from Toledo to Lucas County.
CCNO has been the center of controversy, which started when Lucas County officials began talking about dropping out of CCNO, a fivecounty plus-Toledo facility near Stryker.
Sullivan said the judge’s Monday ruling states inmates who are charged under Ohio law instead of the Toledo municipal code must be housed at the Lucas County Jail at the expense of Lucas County.
However, Sullivan said Toledo must continue to pay its bill for the 228 beds of the 638-bed regional jail.
The Corrections Commission of Northwest Ohio, made up of representatives of the four-county area (Fulton, Defiance, Henry, Williams counties), Lucas County, and Toledo, voted to change its operating agreement after the controversy broke out.
The change, which resulted in the fifth version of the agreement, made it more difficult for entities to leave CCNO.
Sullivan said the Lucas County judge ruled the fifth operating agreement was invalid.
That means CCNO resorts to the fourth version of the agreement.
Under the fourth version, Sullivan said there are two ways an entity, such as a city or county, can leave CCNO.
One way is for that entity to provide official notice of its decision by Sept. 15 of the year preceding its intended departure.
For example, if Toledo wants to drop out of CCNO in 2017, it would have to notify the CCNO board by Sept. 15, 2016.
However, there is a much quicker method.
Sullivan said under provisions of the fourth agreement, an entity can leave CCNO by simply not paying its bill for 60 days.
Sullivan said CCNO officials are reviewing the judge’s ruling and its impact on CCNO.
It will be discussed at an upcoming Corrections Commission meeting.
“If Toledo fails to pay despite the court’s ruling that the fourth amended operating agreement applies to all parties, CCNO will have to determine how it can operate and meet its mission going forward,” Sullivan said in a press release.