NTF worksheet: douglascounty101. doc. 1-19.

Good morning. My name is Doug Kagan, representing NE Taxpayers for Freedom. Our taxpayer group strongly urges the commission to vote NO on issuing revenue bonds to expand the courthouse or juvenile center. The county has not yet tabulated and revealed the cost of renovating the MUD building or decided definitely on the site for a new juvenile center. No open meetings or open records from the beginning until recently. Awarding of no-bid contracts. Potential conflicts of interest between duties of elected officials and their duties as directors of the non-profit management. Lack of documentation for work approved. No serious consideration of alternative sites. Promised private funding not guaranteed. We believe that commissioners purposefully and intentionally created a convoluted, confusing non-profit mechanism to avoid public transparency.

Again, we ask the building commission to backtrack. We urge a process like that used in the 2016 county bond issue that includes 100% public, competitive bidding. The building commission would retain professional services of an expert consultant to assist in the development of a Request for Qualifications for interested bidder teams with expertise and assist the county in award of a contract. This process also would allow for consideration of alternative sites by offsetting any reduction in construction costs by a predetermined amount of internal cost borne by the county due to having separate facilities. The method to determine the internal cost to the county must be established prior to the competing teams developing their respective bids as a matter of transparency and fairness.

The county would then select a short list of qualified developer/designer/contractor bidder teams. Each team in its bidding would have the discretion to propose each facility on the preferred site or propose an alternative site. These qualified teams would develop a design and construction cost based on a program and site development requirements developed by the county with its consultant. The contract would be awarded using a commonly used Technically Acceptable-Least Cost selection analysis that would include construction cost plus any differential, internal cost to the county.

At this time, we simply do not know if there exists less costly alternatives. Taxpayers will not welcome a property tax hike on their homes and businesses if no open bidding. Understand also that angry taxpayers, including our members, will testify this afternoon on LB 20, a legislative bill to close a loophole, to require voter approval for issuance of public building commission bonds to hold public officials accountable.
Revealed during this public hearing was that the proposed juvenile center would hold only 48 inmates, yet 78 incarcerated now, and the teen crime rate continues to rise. Not included in the total cost is the parking lot, now planned for an area to the west, on 19th Street, no longer a garage. The county already bought the United Way Building on 19th Street but now no plan for its use! The commission chairman John Christensen infuriated opponents by allotting first 1 hr. for proponents, followed by 1 hr. for opponents, then extending indefinitely time for proponents. Bond opponents sat fuming while bond boosters like the Charles Drew Center that would benefit from the bond issue lined up to speak at length. Building Commissioners Aimee Melton and Brinker Harding, both also City Council members, finally demanded that opponents have an opportunity to speak.

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