GREENVILLE — The Darke County Board of Commissioners voted on Monday to pay $76,000 out of county general funds to cover cleaning expenses at the Darke County Jail.
The Darke County Sheriff’s Office announced the jail’s reopening Saturday after more than three weeks of decontamination efforts.
The jail’s ventilation system originally was contaminated with methamphetamine powder from an April 17 spill as deputies were in the process of booking an arrestee. Despite initial cleaning efforts, remaining meth in the ventilation system further sickened multiple employees the following day and caused closure of the building. Prisoners were temporarily housed in the Mercer County and Miami County jails until the decontamination was completed.
When asked how much the county expects to pay when the final costs are tabulated, Commissioner Mike Rhoades said it was likely to exceed $100,000. Commissioner Matt Aultman pointed out the county has yet to receive billing for inmate housing from Mercer County and Miami County.
Rhoades added the Sheriff’s Office is looking at a number of preventative measures, including a “panic button,” which would stop the ventilation system in the event a similar situation occurs in the future.
“This is the first time something like this has happened in the State of Ohio,” Rhoades said.
In other business, the board approved a contract with Equature Interactive Response to provide recording services for the county’s emergency dispatch. The dispatch center’s current recording system was found to not be compatible with the county’s MARCS radio system, which is planned for a May 21 rollout. The three-year contract with EIR will cost $26,587.
Further, the board approved a grant contract between the county and the Ohio Department of Transportation toward improvements to the runway at the Darke County Airport. ODOT will pay up to $106,206, or 5 percent, of the project’s cost. The total cost to extend and repave the runway is tagged at $2.1 million. The Federal Aviation Administration is paying $1.9 million of the project with the county covering the remaining 5 percent.