MANSFIELD -- One of the many benefits to Richland Source members is the ability to sound off on the issues of the day.
Periodically we send out a question seeking feedback on a question. Our aim is to raise the level of conversation in the community, and we need our readers' help to do exactly that.
We'd like to thank those who chimed in and encourage all members to let their voices be heard.
Last month's question was: Do you think non-violent F5 offenders should be housed in a state prison? And if the budget bill passes, what would be a thoughtful alternative to prison that could save the county money?
For a little more background, Ohio Gov. John Kasich's plan in the budget bill could mean state prisons would not be required to house fifth-degree felony offenders - leaving local offenders to pay their debt to society in county jails.
Richland County officials say they won't be able to house these offenders due to space and budgetary constraints. Also, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction says counties should think of alternatives besides sending people to jail.
According to Richland County Commissioner Tony Vero, who visited Columbus last week and was updated on the issue, a modified version of the governor's plan is still making its way through the Ohio House.
So we asked Richland Source members for their opinions. Here's what some had to say:
"Just more of Kasich's smoke and mirrors magic of balancing the state budget on the backs of local taxpayers and local governments. And it all sounds good when you're campaigning for President. But when the smoke clears the expenses are still there. They're just shifted from the state level to the local level. And yes, I used to be a Kasich supporter, but not anymore ... time for this magic show to go 'poof' and disappear."
"Utilize our non profit organizations to have the F5 offenders work off their sentences.
"Although it would take supervision time for the county to pay, I would imagine it would be less costly than imprisonment."
"As I drive around the county I see trash, dilapidated structures, tall grass and weeds among other things.
"While locking up people who have committed crimes is making us safer(?) it's costing taxpayers lots of money for people to sit idle.
"Instill a good work ethic in some of these non-violent offenders while exposing them to fresh air and physical labor which never hurt anyone. Not to mention the pride they should feel to see what their work has accomplished."
Our next question for readers to sound off on concerns downtown Mansfield.
The downtown region seems to be at a jumping off point in Mansfield. The emergence of the Phoenix, Relax, It's Just Coffee, and Martini's, along with Main Street Books compliments the sturdy operations at Coney Island and Buckeye Bakery and dozens of others.
Events including Final Fridays in the Brickyard and the Shop Hop, along with destination stations at the Richland Carrousel Park and Buckeye Children's Museum also enhance the sector.
Our question to members is: What's next? What would you like to see bubble up in the natural progression of Downtown Mansfield? What is something that could draw you to a region oozing with potential?
We'll share our members thoughts next month.
If you are a member and would like to sound off on this issue or if you are a reader who is interested in becoming a member and would like to enjoy this and numerous other benefits, contact Jasmine, our membership coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.