COLUMBIANA CO. Jail will remain with private company

The renewal includes prisoner housing rate increases each of the next two years.
LISBON -- Columbiana County is sticking with a private company that it first hired in 1997 to operate the county jail.
Commissioners agreed Wednesday to a two-year renewal of the county's contract with CiviGenics Inc. of Milford, Mass.
The renewal takes effect Jan. 1 and includes increases in how much the county pays to house prisoners.
The current rate is now about $45 per prisoner, per day. On Jan. 1, it will increase to $46.87, and in January 2003 it will go to $48.28.
Cost increase: Commissioner Sean Logan said the first year of the contract will cost the county nearly $59,000 more in prisoner housing costs.
Right now, the county pays about $2 million a year to jail prisoners at the lockup along County Home Road in Center Township.
The jail was the first county lockup in the state to be privatized and is still believed to be the only one in Ohio with that distinction.
Critics have panned privatizing the jail, saying it's government's role to oversee prisoners.
Savings: But Commissioner Jim Hoppel, who helped craft the original privatization deal, said the cash-strapped county cannot ignore the substantial savings privatization has produced.
As recently as January, county officials estimated the county saves about $800,000 annually having CiviGenics operate the jail.
In other matters, commissioners agreed to an increase in the sewage treatment rate charged by a county-owned treatment facility along state Route 154 near Elkton.
The plant treats waste largely from two primary customers, Lisbon and the Elkton Federal Correctional Institution.
The rate charged Lisbon will go up from $1.29 per 1,000 gallons of sewage treated to $1.57. Elkton FCI's rate will go from $2.50 to $3.69.
The increase is necessary to meet rising sewage treatment costs and to replenish a state-mandated fund the plant must maintain to repair and replace equipment at the facility.
The increase should produce about an additional $163,000 a year, Logan said.