Jail garden lauded by state auditor
Ohio State Auditor Dave Yost has recognized Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer’s efforts to save tax dollars, presenting the sheriff with the first-ever Auditor of State Taxpayer Hero Award.
The sheriff implemented a garden program for inmates at the county jail, which saves the county thousands of dollars in food costs.
“This garden is a win-win situation for Sandusky County,” Yost said. “Sheriff Overmyer found a way to save a significant amount of money while at the same time giving back to the community. That’s a real taxpayer hero, and I am proud to recognize his hard work.”
In 2009, Sheriff Overmyer began the inmate garden in a small plot behind the jail. Initially supported through donations, inmates began to grow their own fresh produce, saving taxpayers the money needed to purchase the food. The garden produces fruits and vegetables such as corn, cucumbers, onions, peppers, tomatoes, melon and raspberries.
In addition to fresh produce, inmates care for a chicken coop. In 2010, prisoners raised 100 chickens, which produced more than 600 pounds of fresh chicken meat.
Sheriff Overmyer also cut costs at the jail by revamping the menu served to inmates and changing the food supplier to a local company. In its first year alone, the jail saved an estimated $25,000 in food expenses. The jail’s annual food budget dropped from $120,000 a few years ago to $88,000 in 2011, according to the auditor.
The sheriff’s office donates produce to local food pantries and soup kitchens. The garden also serves as a rehabilitation program for inmates.
Kent J. Appelhans, Pemberville, has been appointed to the Ohio Medical Transportation Board for a term beginning Sept. 28 and ending July 5, 2013.