By Marcia Moore
The Daily Item
MIDDLEBURG — Offenders will soon be ordered to do more community service as part of their punishment now that Snyder County has hired a coordinator to oversee the work.
Lack of funding caused the county court to drop the grant-funded community service coordinator position about two years ago.
In its absence, few defendants have been sentenced to community service, the inmate population at the Snyder County Jail has risen and expenses are up, Commissioner Joe Kantz said.
“We needed to put the money back in the budget for the position because of that,” he said.
The county salary board Thursday approved hiring Bo Trawitz as a probation officer-community service coordinator at $20.94 an hour.
In addition to supervising defendants on probation and work-release, Trawitz will work with area agencies and businesses to determine areas where offenders can best serve community service and oversee their progress.
President Judge Michael H. Sholley is pleased the program has been revived.
“Right now, we don’t have any choice. People who aren’t working or can’t pay their fine are put in jail,” he said.
By providing free labor to communities, such as Freeburg’s recycling program, it reduces the financial burden on the taxpayer, Sholley said.
Offenders who don’t have a job will be required to perform 20 to 30 hours of community service each week.
“We hope by putting more people to work in the community we’ll put (fewer) people in jail,” Kantz said.