Lake County Jail cells

A row of jail cell doorways line one hallway within the Lake County Jail, where guards collectively were paid more than $1.5 million in overtime waged in 2016.

Fiscal missteps by Lake County government in recent years have given taxpayers plenty of pause.

We're seeing recent signs, however, of fiscal responsibility — real attempts to right past financial wrongs — worthy of note.

New Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez appears to be gaining a grip on runaway jail overtime perpetrated by the past administration.

A freeze on unauthorized time off that had been granted to 30 or more Lake County Jail guards already saved county taxpayers $20,000 as of the Tuesday Lake County Council meeting.

That's just a single month after Martinez and the County Council identified the problem and began taking steps to fix an ongoing issue that has helped ring up millions of dollars in overtime expenses in recent years.

We find the developments encouraging to the county's fiscal health and integrity.

It's not perfect, but the county also passed a balanced budget for 2018. Not all levels of government can claim such an accomplishment.

In another attempt at cost savings, the Lake County Board of Commissioners is privatizing food service for Lake County Community Corrections, the county-appropriated, state-run work release program.

Commissioners and Community Corrections officials deserve credit for working together for the good of taxpayers.

Community Corrections staff feeds inmates in the program for about $375,000 each year. The new private food service, Aramark Correctional Service, will cost $334,050 every two years — or $167,025 each year.

That's a savings of more than $207,000 per year.

County officials also are considering similar moves for food service in the Lake County Jail. If a similar savings can be found there, taxpayers will win.

Meanwhile, Lake County leaders are showing positive signs of fiscal responsibility.

Subcribe to the Times

Reporting like this is brought to you by a staff of experienced local journalists committed to telling the stories of your community.
Support from subscribers is vital to continue our mission.

Become a subscriber

Thank you for being a loyal subsciber

Your contribution makes our mission possible.


Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Editorial Page Editor Marc Chase, Editor Bob Heisse, Politics/History Editor Doug Ross and Managing Editor Erin Orr.