Richland County Administration

The Richland County Administration Building is located at 50 Park Ave. East in downtown Mansfield.

MANSFIELD -- The Richland County Solid Waste Management Authority in 2022 will explore hiring a countywide environmental enforcement officer.

Director Eddie Hale told county commissioners Tuesday he plans to visit townships around in the county during the year to gauge interest in the position, which could help combat infractions like illegal dumping.

"It's something we continually look at," Hale said. "I plan on visiting all 18 townships to get input from them and see what their thoughts are.

"We still have it on the backburner. We need to do some more research."

The authority's five-year, 210-page plan, approved in 2020, includes the position, which would be a deputy in the Richland County Sheriff's Office. 

"There is a potential to reintroduce this program during the planning period if funding is available. The (Richland County Solid Waste Management Authority) would hire a deputy sheriff to patrol for and respond to litter complaints," the plan says.

"The emphasis would be on roadside dumping but the deputy could also respond to or refer open dumping complaints to the Health Department or Ohio EPA."

Hale told commissioners on Tuesday the RCSWA had a $1.9 million budget carryover coming into 2020 and will likely end 2021 with a $2.5 million carryover.

"It should be around $2.7 million by the time we roll into 2022," Hale said.

The City of Mansfield has expressed a strong interest in the position being filled. When City Council approved the plan in 2020, Mayor Tim Theaker said he hoped an officer would be hired.

"The Solid Waste District has the money. It's in the plan. This (deputy) could work with the courts and get (violators) prosecuted and reduce illegal dumping in this area, especially in the city," Theaker said.

Hale also told commissioners a resurfacing plan for Noble Road, from U.S. 13 to the entrance to the landfill, will take place in 2022. He said Richland County Engineer Adam Gove had hoped to do the work in 2021, but the effort has been pushed back to 2022.

The RCSWA will contribute $150,000 toward the $855,000 overall resurfacing projects, Hale said.

Also on Tuesday, commissioners approved procedures and policies for the spending of American Rescue Plan Acts, submitted by new county administrator Andrew Keller.

Keller told commissioners the steps are required to meet federal procurement requirements.

"This action today didn't authorize any specific expenditures," Keller said. "It creates the framework commissioners will use in making those (spending) decisions."

Also on Tuesday, commissioners had two executive sessions to discuss bids to provide medical services for the county jail in 2022 and also contract negotiations with the sheriff's department.

No actions were taken after either closed-door session.

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City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"