Times file photo

STRYKER — The Ohio Supreme Court refused to weigh in on the debate over who should pay for which inmates at the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio but a million-dollar debt between the City of Toledo and Lucas County still hangs in the balance.

The Supreme Court announced Wednesday that it declined to hear an appeal that sided with Toledo and chose to uphold a lower court ruling that holds Lucas County responsible for CCNO costs associated with inmates charged or convicted in Toledo for misdemeanors under state law rather than the Toledo Municipal Code.

“This means more discussion with potential litigation,” said Brian Davis, the Williams County commissioner who currently serves as president of the jail’s executive board. “We have the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) and the attorney general’s opinion that says if a person is cited under ORC the cost of incarceration should be borne by the county and if they are cited under municipal code the costs should be borne by the municipality.”

The problem started in 2014 when Toledo Mayor Michael Collins requested his police department make all arrests under the ORC, which, Davis said, “is the general practice. Lucas County challenged that through a series of court actions.”

Collins died while in office, in February 2015. The argument continued into 2016 with the City of Toledo ending its decades-long partnership with CCNO by default with an estimated $1.1 million debt.

“This was the only thing holding us up, waiting to see which way the court was going to go,” said Henry County Commissioner Bob Hastedt. He was the executive board president before Davis and continues to serve as a board member. “In my opinion we ought to get the money any day now, but who knows?

“It would be great if we could resolve this and get the issue behind us,” Hastedt said. “CCNO needs the money to keep going and we’ve been waiting quite a while now. We need to get on with the business we were sent there to do.”

Current Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz shared that opinion in his own press release.

“It is in the best interest of the city and the county to have a good working relationship,” the mayor said. “I am glad this case is finally over, and I look forward to continuing to work with our county on our shared goals and objectives.”

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