State Representative Casey Kozlowski (R-Pierpont) today announced that the House Judiciary and Ethics Committee passed House Bill 197, legislation that pertains to the collection of unpaid court costs, fees or fines.
The committee included Kozlowski’s amendment to allow the Ohio Highway Patrol to retain the ability to oversee felony-level crimes that are committed at the Lake Erie Correctional Institution (LECI). Though the issue was technically resolved by a memorandum of understanding by the Attorney General, Kozlowski’s amendment ensures that the principles of the agreement would remain in place. As a result of Rep. Kozlowski’s amendment, the city of Conneaut will not be obligated to spend additional tax dollars to hire new law enforcement officers and will be able to retain more of the property taxes that will be generated by the institution.
“It is very important that we allow the Ohio Highway Patrol to oversee felony-level crimes, because the funding for this has already been appropriated in the state budget and will be at no new cost to the state, county or to the city of Conneaut,” Rep. Kozlowski said. “A time when every dollar counts, this is a move that will save valuable tax dollars for our citizens and help to revitalize the area with jobs and revenue.”
Recently, LECI was sold to Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), a move that, in conjunction with other plans for Ohio’s prison system, may save about $13 million annually and help to ease overcrowding. LECI will also generate significant funds for local schools through property taxes and is expected to employ nearly 300 people, which includes contract positions such as food service workers, dietician technicians, warehouse/sanitation workers and various medical personnel.