The Belmont County Sheriff's Department and Sanitary Sewer District are expanding to meet the needs of a county whose economy is growing.
County commissioners authorized Sheriff Dave Lucas to hire six full-time staff at a rate of $12.18 per hour. Lucas said the new positions will be filled by civilians, freeing several deputies to maintain a greater presence in the county. In addition, it will no longer be necessary to pay a deputy's wages for office work.
"We've been having an influx of people," said Lucas. "We've had a very large increase in the jail facility. Last year we averaged 84 persons a day. Now we're averaging 120."
He added that this will allow office personnel to be on hand 24/7 for the first time since 2009.
"This will also benefit all the local police departments," Lucas said, noting someone will be available to pull warrants and check them, as well as have warrants waiting when police pick up a suspect. "We're looking for highly-motivated office personnel that can multitask. We're a very fast-paced working office."
In addition, commissioners adopted a resolution granting a base pay rate adjustment of $1.50 per hour to Sanitary Sewer District Director Mark Esposito, retroactive to Feb. 1.
Commissioner Ginny Favede commented on growth seen in the county.
"There needs to be recognition that we are managing a different county," she said. "Belmont County is growing, and the demands on our departments are becoming greater. And we are working to address those demands so that we can continue to offer services.