Wanting to encourage neighboring counties to share expenses, Red Willow County commissioners cut their county's contribution, from $12,000 to $8,000, to the juvenile pre-trial diversion program run by Lutheran Family Services.
Commissioner Leigh Hoyt stressed at the commissioners' weekly meeting Monday morning that he supports the diversion program -- "I'm behind it 100 percent," he said -- but explained that he resents Red Willow County having to pay also for juveniles in Hayes, Hitchcock and Furnas counties.
Chris Berry of McCook, who coordinates the diversion program, requested $12,000 from Red Willow County's general fund for 2009-10, the same amount that the county contributed for 2008-09.
Berry said the number of area youths served increased from 106 in June 2008 to 159 in May 2009. Ninety-six of those youths live in Red Willow; the remainder live in Furnas, Hitchcock and Hayes counties.
Following the meeting, Berry explained that Hitchcock and Furnas counties pay for juvenile justice services for their youths with grant funds they applied for and received from the Nebraska State Juvenile Justice County Aid Grant Program which is funded with money appropriated by the Nebraska Legislature for counties to access for juvenile services.
Berry said that using county aid grant funds for 2008-09, Hitchcock County paid LFS $2,934; Furnas County paid $4,571; and Red Willow County paid $9,996 (in addition to the $12,000 from the general fund).
Hayes County has no county aid grant money available, Berry said, because it does not have a current three-year comprehensive juvenile justice plan in place and on file with the Nebraska Crime Commission, which oversees the county aid grant program.
Neither Hitchcock, Furnas nor Hayes county make LFS general fund contributions to LFS.
A $150 fee paid by each juvenile enrolled in the diversion program and manpower provided by the sheriff's department help LFS meet the matching fund requirements of the county aid grants, Berry said.
Hoyt said he does not want Red Willow County tax payers to support the cost of the diversion program for youths from outside Red Willow County. Commission Chairman Earl McNutt agreed, asking that Berry contact the other counties about making contributions to ensure that the program continues. Berry said that last year the counties were facing budget constraints.
Dave Lund of North Platte, LFS Western Region Director, said he and Berry could identify and target figures by population for the other counties and would approach commissioners.
Hoyt stressed to Berry and Lund that he supports the program, that he understands that Red Willow County Attorney Paul Wood supports the program, but, his motion cut the county's contribution from $12,000 to $8,000.
Wood said, "We've got to see that this survives ... we have to." Wood said that without a diversion program, offenders would most likely be placed on probation, increasing probation officers' workload.
Commissioners unanimously approved the $8,000 contribution. McNutt said they would reassess the situation a year from now.
In other action:
* Commissioners awarded the construction bid for expanding the county court office into the hallway between the existing office and the courtroom to McCook Contracting LLC, which submitted a bid for $6,865. Other bids were $8,145 from Fitzsimmon's Construction and $14,500 from Weiss Construction.
Subcontractors will be K-C Motor & Electric Inc, electrical work, $2,230; Phones Etc., materials, $271.46, labor at $50 per hour; Samway Floor Covering, carpet, approximately $400; 7-D Lockshop, keypad, $750.
Greg Holthus, courthouse maintenance, told commissioners that the fire marshal has okayed the plan. The fire horn will be relocated in the first-floor hallway, he said.
Holthus said work will be done around court schedules.
McNutt said he will check into the availability of grant funds earmarked for courthouse security projects.
* Commissioners awarded gravel bids:
Paulsen: Lebanon precinct, $7.97 per ton from Paulsen's sandpit; Beaver, $7.45; Tyrone, $7.45; Missouri Ridge, $6.87; Bondville, $6.88; East Valley, $6.90; Indianola, $6.65; Red Willow, $6.49; North Valley, $7.05; and Alliance, $6.99. Paulsen will charge $5 per ton if the county picks the gravel up at the pit.
Hancock: Gerver, $6.50; Valley Grange, $6.50; Willow Grove, $5.49; Perry, $5.49; Fritsch, $6.20; Box Elder, $6.20; and Coleman, $5.85. Hancock will charge $5 per ton if the county picks up the gravel at the pit.
EIA LLC: Grant, $5.95; and Driftwood, $4.87. EIA LLC will charge $5.50 per ton if the county picks up the gravel at the pit.
Paulsen and EIA LLC will split Danbury Precinct; each bid $7.13. McNutt said he would "split it up evenly; let (each) have a piece of the pie."
Commissioners said they will require a scale ticket with every load of gravel, and that they plan to sample loads from time-to-time to verify that the gravel meets state specs.
Commissioners approved a proposal from Paulsen's to provide the aggregate at $5.95 per ton for the county's armor coating projects.
* Commissioners approved resolutions to close funds and functions no longer needed within the county budget: Homeland Security plan grant fund No. 2501, MFO (Mutual Financing Organization) No. 2975, and Functions 654 (CEDARS, which has been replaced by Lutheran Family Services) and 680 (Bartley and Indianola law enforcement contracts which are now paid out of the sheriff's budget).
* Commissioners took no action after closed session to discuss litigation pending against Pawnee Aviation, which owes the county $300,000 plus interest after defaulting on two loans from the county's revolving loan fund.
* Commissioners discussed, also in closed session for personnel and potential litigation reasons, a letter from Nebraska Health and Human Services regarding reimbursement of child support enforcement.
* Commissioners tabled until 10:30 a.m., Monday, July 6, approval of a $70,000 claim to Quality Urgent Care P.C., and authorization of the board chairman to sign loan documents.