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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Commissioners: Offenders will pay

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Serious offenders will now have to pay for their sins in Clay County.

In Tuesday's meeting of the Clay County Commissioners, an ordinance was unanimously passed which sets a fee as part of registering as a violent offender or sex offender.

"Offenders must pay an annual fee of $50 when they become part of the registry," Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton said. "There is also a $5 fee they must pay whenever an address change is filed with the Clay County Sheriff's Department."

There had been no previous fee for registering as a sex or violent offender, but a new state law which went into effect July 1 allows for counties to collect a fee from those entering the registry.

Ten percent of the fees collected will go to the state treasurer to be put in the Sex and Violent Offender Administration Fund, which helps keep the registry going.

However, there may be a roadblock to the existence of this ordinance.

"The state law is currently under much criticism," Heaton said.

"If the state law is overturned, then this ordinance would have to be abolished.

The commissioners also accepted a revised jail service contract for the Clay County Justice Center.

The contract would ensure maintenance to the jail, keeping it in compliance with the state fire marshal's codes.

Revisions included making the contract valid through the end of the year only, and removing the section about the county being taxed for the service because the county cannot be taxed in a service agreement.

Havel, a Fort Wayne-based company in which the contract is with, will have to accept the revised contract before it would go into effect.

The old jail building was also a topic of discussion for the commissioners.

They agreed the building should be utilized if at all possible, but do have stipulations as to what they want to be done with the building.

"The old jail will not be used for commercial use, such as a grocery store," Commissioner Charlie Brown said. "We would like a community organization, possibly a tax exempt entity, to use the building."

The commissioners also emphasized no county funding would go into the old jail and that whoever occupies the building would be responsible for bringing it up to code, along with general upkeep of the land and structure, and payment of all bills.

Those interested in the old jail building must submit a written application to the board of commissioners by Sept. 30, and they will be reviewed at their regular meeting on Oct. 1.

The commissioners also said they have the right to accept or reject any submitted application.

To contact the commissioners about the jail building, call 812-448-9008.

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