NTF worksheet: douglascounty115.doc. 5-19.

Liberal Douglas County Commissioner Chris Rodgers held a town hall to try to convince the taxpaying public that building a juvenile detention center downtown with a country club atmosphere will inspire civic pride.
The facility jails from 210-222 juvenile offenders daily, yet the new facility would hold only 64. ( If an addition needed later, additional taxpayer expense).

Rodgers favors alternatives to incarceration, detention only for kids who really need it, only as a last resort.
His objective is to merge juvenile services, lessen detention time, and reduce time that juveniles must wait to go to court. Also, provide better transportation and access for juvenile offender families.
*Natural plants on the roof to reduce trauma and relieve stress for juvenile inmates.
*Meeting rooms for families to meet with their attorneys.
Wooden doors and painted walls in cells, so that kids will not feel like criminals.

Aim is to reduce recidivism and reduce total costs.
New programs will continue indefinitely.

Majority of commissioners want the new facility to be a 1-stop facility.
LB 1112 from the 2018 Legislature mandated that each detained juvenile have a permanent placement.

County began a pilot program with Child Savings Institute to work with police. Cops will offload offenders to CSI instead of the detention center.
Omaha Home for Boys also will accept detained juveniles.
Uta Halee will accept detained girls.

Rodgers seeks to speed up the juvenile evaluation process, so that juveniles more quickly have access to mental health services.
He wants more offending boys and girls left at home, with better connection to their families.

County hired a Disproportionate Minority Contact Coordinator to find ways to lower the number of minority juveniles detained. His job is to remove the stigma of incarceration and determine what social services these miscreants require. He educates staff about biases against minorities and train them how to manage minorities. His initial contract was $70,000 annually; his 2019 salary now $76,211.
Total cost for new justice center downtown is $114 million, with $5-$6 million to cover contingency costs.
Admitted that additional parking lot required, because only employee parking allowed under complex. This additional parking NOT included in $114 million total.

Rodgers claims that project can be completed without a tax increase. However, total amount required is 3c more tax on each $100 of valuation. Current levy is 28c.
County would pay off only interest during the first few years, requiring only 1.5c more tax.

May be possible to build project at less than 3c more tax.
Commissioners do not want to allow the public to vote on this project, because state law allows both Douglas and Lancaster Counties to construct projects without a citizen vote but with a public building commission. (However, there is no law that prohibits a public vote).
(Area around county jail is a dead zone for commercial development; the same would occur around the juvenile detention center, thus stifling economic development downtown).
Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom favors a cheaper alternative that would renovate and expand the Juvenile Center at 41st & Woolworth Ave. The high rate of current recidivism involved in alternative methods of handling criminal juveniles convinces us that the lenient, country club atmosphere envisioned for a new facility downtown will mean future expansion necessary for increased incarceration and raise costs exponentially. Also, such lush treatment does not consider the plight of victims of vicious, malevolent juvenile criminals or the increased risk to the unsuspecting public. Expect a hefty property tax increase from this plan. A majority of Douglas County Commissioners refuse to allow a permitted vote on this project, because they correctly fear that taxpaying citizens would vote NO.

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