November 25, 2014

Elyria
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Commissioners say plan to move Probation Department too costly

 

This area inside the old courthouse, which opened in 1881, reveals damage. PHOTO PROVIDED

This area inside the old courthouse, which opened in 1881, reveals damage. PHOTO PROVIDED

ELYRIA — A compromise plan to move the Lorain County Adult Probation Department into the vacant fifth floor of the county Justice Center is dead on arrival, opponents said Wednesday.

The plan by County Commissioner Tom Williams would resolve a dispute that dates to at least 2008. County judges want to move the 36-person department to the center due to decrepit conditions in the old courthouse, which opened in 1881. The Justice Center opened in 2004.

The move would cost between $2.4 million and $2.8 million. Williams’ plan calls for county taxpayers to pay $1.2 million. The rest would be paid with court funds such as the approximately $700,000 received annually in fees paid by offenders for probationary services.

“If the board continues to do nothing in regards to the old courthouse, you will be wasting tax dollars,” the Republican Williams wrote in a Wednesday email to Democratic commissioners Ted Kalo and Lori Kokoski. “You can no longer play the waiting game.”

However, Kalo and Kokoski, who want to renovate the courthouse for between $250,000 and $300,000, said they had no interest in the compromise, contending taxpayers can’t afford it.

“Just because somebody wants something doesn’t make it the right thing,” Kalo said.

Kokoski said department workers’ health and safety isn’t at risk in the building and they are exaggerating problems. She said photos of decrepit conditions are from areas where employees aren’t supposed to be.

“They’re trying to shame us into spending $2.8 million because they want what they want,” Kokoski said.

While the $1.2 million share of the cost of the move is about 2.2 percent of the $53 million county budget, Kokoski said the county can’t afford it.

“We would have to borrow that,” she said. “We don’t have money to fix our sidewalks.”

Williams said in an interview that the $50,000 requested Tuesday by the judges to hire a Cleveland law firm to sue the Board of Commissioners is just the start of a potentially costly legal battle. He estimated it could cost $500,000 for a settlement and $750,000 to $1 million if the case is resolved in court.

Williams said even if a judge ruled the board can decide the department’s location, the judge would probably order renovations of $250,000 to $300,000 to the old courthouse, which Williams said would be a Band-Aid. While Kalo and Kokoski say the move would be too expensive, Williams noted they were willing to spend about $970,000 to move the department to a building on Broad Street by Lorain National Bank.

That idea was nixed due to concerns about felons loitering downtown. The department handles about 2,000 cases annually.

Williams, who is running for re-election, said he fought with the judges in 2011 to get them to lower their budget requests. The judges have a $5 million overall budget, including about $2.4 million in a general fund budget, said Tim Lubbe, Lorain County court administrator.

However, Williams said he’s siding with the judges this time because they’re right. Williams, who has long feuded with Kalo and Kokoski, said due to the constitutional separation of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government, the board likely would lose if the case goes to court. “It’s just a shame because we’re going to be throwing away a lot of money,” Williams said.

Lubbe said workers deserve to work in a healthy and secure workplace. Lubbe said if commissioners insist they stay at the courthouse, the court will comply, but it will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to make repairs.

He said problems include water and raw sewage leaking from the third floor into second-floor rooms where employees work. Lubbe said the lobby accommodates about a dozen people, but 100 come through on a regular basis, making it unsafe.

“The law says the court can require reasonable and necessary facilities for its personnel, and that is what we intend to do,” Lubbe said.

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.


  • Beth

    Am I living in Bizzaro-world? A republican asking for tax money and the Dems trying to save money! It’s the end of days friends!

    • Tom Williams

      Beth I am trying to save money. When you add the costs to litigate, plus the costs to do minor repairs to the old Courthouse. We can pay to build out the 5th floor of the Justice Center. The buildout will also reduce costs by having the departments under one building (maintenance, security, and inefficiencies by having employees walking back and forth between buildings).

      Regards,

      Commissioner Tom Williams

      • Beth

        Thanks for the reply Mr Williams.

    • Rtgh123

      I know, right? Look at how the Bush administration saved money. Those Republicans are so darn thrifty!

  • Scout

    I say we take Kalo and Kokoski and have them work for a week in the old courthouse.
    It’s like going to dollar store and buying something. When it breaks you just bye it again and again. Eventually if you add up the cost of the same continuous purchase you could have bought one of the same items at a higher price that lasts much longer without replacing it and in the long run it would have been cheaper. Same as the old municipal court. They finally bit the bullet and built a new one after spending countless $$ on repairs.
    I don’t think this is too outrageous and I agree-it should all be in one building. No one wants to spend money, especially the tax payers, but sometimes it has to be done.

  • Sis Delish

    Scrap the whole idea and have the Private Sector come in, build-out the 5th floor of the Historic Building to house the new headquarters for a Food Truck Company and a Fireworks Fundraiser. Those two things should save the City and the County, and provide a nice view of Ely Square for the Tenants in return.

    • TruthWhisperer

      You paying for it?

      • Sis Delish

        Words of a lifetime freeloader… “you paying for it?” LOL

        • Starryeyes63

          LMAO

          • TruthWhisperer

            Laughing at ignorance?

            it is funny isnt it?

        • TruthWhisperer

          Or take an accounting class and you would understand how silly you sound.

          ECON 101 might save you a lot of embarrassment.

        • Starryeyes63

          I think I have a stalker………

          • TruthWhisperer

            well you are both the same, You really need to make sure you sign out of your account before responding to another.

            kinda funny you have to create an illusion that people actually like what you say but turns out its just one little lonely person with nothing better to do than sit on this site day after day signing out of one account and back into another to make yourself feels better.

            I had no idea your life was that pathetic.

            https://imgur.com/udRuayD

    • Bill Love

      Why do you just say stupid things that have nothing to with the topic

      • Sis Delish

        The stupid ideas come from others… Sis is just using a Magnifying Tool to show how infinitesimal the theories prove to be that Food Trucks show Elyria’s economy is coming back, and Raising Monies for 2nd of July Fireworks is somehow a good sign for the prospects of the City named after the Ely clan.

        • TruthWhisperer

          You realize you are still logged in under your SIS Delish Account?

          Or do you always refer to yourself in 3rd person?

          looks like you got caught praising yourself while logged into the wrong account

          Good Job! Oh and I screen shotted this in case you try to change it.

          Good Job!

          • Sis Delish

            Did you get your Detective Certification from the Front or the Back of comic books?

          • TruthWhisperer

            From the back, So you use multiple accounts because your words alone are not enough.

            Isnt it kinda embarassing to admit you use multi accounts but are the same person?

            Guess you are not so smart after all lol

            https://imgur.com/udRuayD

          • Sis Delish

            With a Whopping 19 Posts to your name, answer me this: What percentage are cognizant missives, and what percentage are directed at yourself?

          • Starryeyes63

            And we are not the same person

          • TruthWhisperer

            Sure, thats why you are not responding back to me but back to Sis Delish right?

            You got to slow down and make sure you sign out before responding when you get flustered

            https://imgur.com/udRuayD

          • Smira29595

            - “1,2,3,4!”

            “You can’t count to five!”

            – “1,2,3,4!”…

            “Cause your brain is fried… from crack, and dope, and all that $hi* you smoke!

          • TruthWhisperer

            Name calling is so classy!

            Is that what you call evidence?

            Funny that a simple crack head broke you in half in less than 20 posts.

            Maybe you can log in another account and start over.

            Oh can you get me some coffee to go with Sis Delish’s eggs?

            Or do you only do what she tells you to do?

            Thanks love

          • Smira29595

            Maybe the reason they don’t reply to Truth is he a waste of time & O2

          • Starryeyes63

            BINGO

          • Smira29595

            Admits to being a DNC plant, pushing talking points.

          • TruthWhisperer

            A dnc plant thats funny, but not as funny as being a coward hiding behind multiple accounts to make it seem like people actually care about you.

            Then there is lil ol me beating you all down and embarrassing you on our own turf.

            How does that feel? did you ask Sis how you should respond? maybe you guys should have a meeting about it?

          • TruthWhisperer

            Bingo you got 4 accounts in a row LOL

          • TruthWhisperer

            Maybe the reason is the 4 people that are on this site are the same people.

            Secondly when you have been outed as a fraud a fake a cheat they tend not to respond out of shear embarrassment.

            Just look at how many posts they made since being outed.

            Zero.

            But remember Im a ‘paid blogger’ right?
            Funny people pay me for my opinion but even when you make 6 accounts your opinion is still worthless, But people pay me for mine.

            Then again when you break them in half in less than 20 posts thats pretty admirable.

            Dontcha think?

          • Starryeyes63

            Wow, 2 4 and now 6 are the same person…. kinda like the “same person” who was imitating Golfgirl me & Smira and the CT deleted hmmmmmm Take your meds

          • Starryeyes63

            what lie yeller can not stand the idea that there are more than 2-3 people that disagree with him/her

          • TruthWhisperer

            What Starry eyes can not stand is I have proof Sis Delish uses multiple accounts because nobody is silly enough to agree with him

            https://imgur.com/udRuayD

            Sucks doesnt it?

          • TruthWhisperer

            Guess you got to start signing out before responding.

            You got caught

          • Starryeyes63

            does NOT proof we are same person YOU LOOSE

          • TruthWhisperer

            Burden of proof is in your court sweet heart.

            How are you going to prove otherwise?

            https://imgur.com/udRuayD

          • TruthWhisperer

            Who do you think they will believe someone with proof or an ornery brat with a little demon baby as their pic?

            Oh I win and you know it.

            https://imgur.com/udRuayD

          • Smira29595

            LOL You two alone have cause his meds to double.

          • TruthWhisperer

            I know, 19 posts and I exposed you as a fraud that uses multiple accounts because you can’t do it ‘alone’

            Just imagine what i will get done by my 30th post!

            LOL

            https://imgur.com/udRuayD

          • Starryeyes63

            LOL same person

          • TruthWhisperer

            You are still responding to your other account.

            Im the one that cracked you wide open, all I have is a bit a proof but its more than you have

            This is going to be fun :-)

            https://imgur.com/udRuayD

          • Smira29595

            OMG talk about Narcissistic…. Truth need new meds.

          • TruthWhisperer

            Here is the screen shot: https://imgur.com/udRuayD

            Sis Delish uses multiple accounts.

            Reality wins and you lose :-)

          • TruthWhisperer

            you also responded to the wrong person

            looks like someones stressed out and not being careful

          • Sis Delish

            Almost fee obligated to pay a Cover Charge for this entertainment… but, I’ll resist.

          • Starryeyes63

            We are good considering we posted simultaneously.

          • TruthWhisperer

            Exactly, especially when you all show up at the same time and forget to sign out of your account before responding.

            Its hilarious and pathetic!

            https://imgur.com/udRuayD

          • Starryeyes63

            He thinks a lot of him/herself

          • TruthWhisperer

            I just use one account too bad your leader cant do the same.

            Does he tell you what to type?

            https://imgur.com/udRuayD

          • Smira29595

            I see no proof.

          • TruthWhisperer

            Thats because you lack reading comprehension, Even when she has admitted to doing so you still dont see it.

            Case closed for you!

          • TruthWhisperer

            Truth has the truth

            what do you got?

            https://imgur.com/udRuayD

          • Starryeyes63

            Is truly delusional. If we were the same person we would like ALL of our own posts.

          • TruthWhisperer

            Can you have Stary eyes get me some eggs, Id ask her myself but since you are the same person I might as well ask you

            https://imgur.com/udRuayD

        • TruthWhisperer

          Hey Sis, Why do you use different accounts to talk up your posts?

          https://imgur.com/udRuayD

  • GreatRedeemer

    Has there been any efforts to provide funding to renovate the building using historical and federal grants ?

    I must admit that as a taxpayer and citizen when I read the paper, Judges suing Commissioners, Prosecutor keeping tabs on a Judge, amongst other
    things I’m disappointed. I expect justice and common sense from the judiciary, not discourse and inability to reach a solution.

  • Pablo Jones

    Everyone on Probation should have to pay a monthly fee while on probation. Those fees should be used to fund the building issues. How many people are on probation in Lorain County? $20-$50 a month may not be a lot of money but it will be a steady stream to address maintenance issues.

  • Joe Flabetz

    Tom:
    Stop trying to give everything to everyone while your running for election. Be a leader with ethics and morals. Quit pandering to get votes. 2.8 million to build out a space, bottom line wasn’t it you that complained about the cost of coffee for the employees just a couple years ago? Now 2.8 million for first class offices is the right thing to do? There has got to be a better solution.

    • oldruss

      Since either the old courthouse gets a major renovation, or the 5th Floor of the County Justice Center gets built out, pick the most cost effective. Litigation between the judges of the common pleas court and the county commissioners IS throwing tax money down the porcelain. It sounds like Commissioner Williams is trying to find the best solution to this long standing problem

      • Phil Blank

        Fire them all and start with new people at minimum wage!

      • Pablo Jones

        Except if they build out the 5th floor and move in there, then they will come back and ask for money to completely renovate the court house. And if they don’t fix the court house and plan on tearing it down, think of all the litigation that will go on to stop that. So the money will still be spent on the court house either way.

        If they are going to do anything it would best be to find some other county department that is renting space somewhere and move them into the 5th floor, or rent it out. Or temporarily move them into the 5th floor for a faster renovation of the court house move them back and then rent out the space. Isn’t the Lorain County Veteran Services looking for a new space?

        • oldruss

          I misspoke above. The plan offered by Commissioner Williams would put the Probation Dept. in the presently unused fifth floor of the County ADMINISTRATION building. That said, the Commissioners should pick the most cost effective alternative, and avoid costly litigation with the judges of the common pleas court. I see no advantage in renovating the old court house just for the Probation Dept. The county should renovate it to the extent that it is no longer deteriorating, but unless and until the county has an actual need to locate a government office there, or can acquire rent-paying tenants from outside the county government, no more money than is necessary should be expended on the old court house, notwithstanding it’s historical and architectural positives.

  • TruthWhisperer

    Hey did you guys know SIS Delish uses multiple accounts because she cant stand by her own words so she needs to create an artifical audience?

    Tak a look https://imgur.com/udRuayD

    • Otter

      Okay, we get it already, time to let it go, you are all acting like city government employees.

      • Smira29595

        watch out we are all one in the same.

      • stillsleepyeyes

        there trying to copy will and burge……………….there both old now………….

  • Sis Delish

    Will someone tell TW that the Full Moon on Friday the 13th was last week?

  • golfingirl

    Okay, the “gig” is up. Someone here is way too smart for me.

    Golfingirl= Sis Delish = Smira 29595 = Starryeyes63 = SniperFire.

    I feel so much better now that I have confessed. My soul has been cleansed. Praise the Lord!

    Next topic please, so one of my five alter egos can chime in.

    Geez, it is so confusing to me, I don’t which name to use next. Maybe I should just make up yet another one? …laughing.

    I think someone here is feeling a little frustrated?

    Oh well, back to the ignore mode. Anyone want to join me? We all know who I am referring to.

    • Starryeyes63

      Checking in LOL you forgot Otter……And in “truth” That person has 2 accounts same name though.

      • golfingirl

        Just mentioned the one’s he stated as being one and the same.

        So, since I am you, and you are me, am I talking to myself right now?

        So confusing……laughing.

        • Starryeyes63

          Yeah and we need a few more to respond to really confuse me.

          • Smira29595

            LOL Ok here I am

        • Sis Delish

          I am the Eggman, We are the Eggmen, I am the Walrus, coo coo coo cho.

          • TruthWhisperer

            Whatever you want to sign in as if fine with me because I break you regardless of your name and I break your ‘friends’ as well.

        • TruthWhisperer

          well you take orders from him so it is kinda funny.

          How was your weekend? it was beautiful out and according to your time stamps you spent the whole weekend on this site hating.

          What a lonely little person :-(

    • Smira29595

      Ding dong chiming in.

      • TruthWhisperer

        What a great way to have spent your weekend, Hating on others behind a keyboard :-)

        You must be so lonely

  • saltydog77

    Wait one minute Kalo and Kokoski, weren’t you two co. commishs along with the former lady that liked to wear all those fancy hats? You three amigos found enough money to remodel an old building and turn it into a transportation center that has yet to do any business. Not only should the two of you be voted OUT OF OFFICE, you should also be charged with malfeasance in office.I suggest that the county judges find a way to put your two offices in the old courthouse.