NTF worksheet: douglascounty54.doc. 1-19.

Good morning. My name is Doug Kagan, representing NE Taxpayers for Freedom. Our taxpayer group urges commissioners to vote NO on issuing revenue bonds for the justice center or juvenile center, as this board not yet has revealed the cost of renovating or redesigning the MUD building or decided definitely on the site for a new juvenile center. Commissioners have not informed the public what their intentions are for renovations of another nearby building already purchased.

Again, we ask the board to backtrack. We urge a process like that used in the 2016 bond issue that includes 100% public, competitive bidding. Commissioners and/or 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 and assist the county in award of the contract. This process also should allow for consideration of alternatives 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 involved teams developing their respective bids as a matter of transparency and fairness.

The county would issue a Request for Qualifications to 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. A short list of qualified teams would develop a design and construction cost based on a program and site development requirements developed by the county with its architect/expert 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 exist less costly alternatives. Therefore, we strongly urge you to delay this vote.


Voting FOR a resolution to request the Omaha-Douglas Public Building Commission to issue $120 million in Revenue Bonds for the Justice Center Project, including a new Juvenile Detention Center:
Commissioners Mary Ann Borgeson, Mike Boyle*, Clare Duda, Marc Kraft, P.J. Morgan, and Chris Rodgers.

* Boyle voted YES, only so that he could request the board to reconsider its action.

Voting against this resolution: Commissioner Jim Cavanaugh.

The issuance of $120 million in bonds by the public building commission will cost the owners of a typical $200,000 home a $67 annual property tax hike in FY 2019-2020 through a 1.5c levy increase. Later building operation and maintenance costs will require an additional tax increase, because a majority of commissioners did not want to utilize properties already owned by the county. Meanwhile, the county wastes money continually by pursuing eminent domain against the Perrin building that commissioners no longer need. The building commission has a lower bond rating than the AAA+ bond rating of the county. There exists a 10 basis points difference in calculating the two. The lower rating will mean $60,000 annual difference, or $1.8 million over the 30-year bond period. With two probable interest rate hikes forecast for 2019, the cost will rise further. The board majority appears elated that the Sherwood Foundation, funded by liberal Suzie Buffett, offered to contribute $10 million but only if the juvenile detention center restricts habitation to only 48 delinquents, hardly adequate to handle the higher number of juveniles arrested and requiring jailing in future years. Buffett also demands further expenses, the hiring of an additional bureaucrat, a Juvenile Justice Supervisor, who would handle several of the duties of the current center administrator and require the Public Defender to assign lawyers permanently to incarcerated juveniles. The building commission cannot issue the bonds unless the County Board and Omaha City Council vote to ratify an agreement with the building commission, so begin lobbying now!

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