Douglas County is battling a costly juvenile detention problem, county commissioners learned Wednesday night.
Douglas County Administrative District Judge Mike Malone told commissioners Wednesday that the 1990 budget for juvenile detention is already depleted.
"As of tomorrow, we will have spent all of the money," Malone said.
Douglas County has no juvenile detention facility and so must house youths in facilities in other counties that have room. The counties bill Douglas County as much as $100 a day.
That's the amount charged by the detention facility in Salina, which is holding a 15-year-old youth named in a juvenile complaint stemming from Sunday's robbery of the Magic Wok restaurant in Lawrence.
Malone said that if space can't be found at another, cheaper facility and the youth stays at the Salina facility until his July 2 hearing, the county's bill will be about $4,000.
THAT DOESN'T include the cost of officers' overtime, gasoline or wear and tear on patrol cars, he said.
District Judge Jean Shepherd, who handles most of the juvenile cases in the county, said the problem has become acute only in the last year.
Juveniles formerly were placed in the custody of the state Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, she said, or in the county jail. But starting in 1989, federal regulations required that juveniles be kept separate from adults.
Shawnee, Johnson and Wyandotte counties all have juvenile detention facilities, she said, but they're always full, so Douglas County officials usually find themselves taking juveniles to Hutchinson or Salina, if there's room.
Two juveniles in the last month were basically placed under house arrest because no room could be found anywhere, she said.
"WE'VE HAD kids who are adjudicated on Class B felonies sitting at home," she said.
Douglas County needs its own juvenile facility, she said, but for now, what the county needs is more money in the judicial budget for juvenile detention.
Commissioners approved the transfer of $5,000 into that budget line item, but the judges said they could be back later this year asking for more money.
In other business, commissioners unanimously:
Delayed for two weeks consideration of a proposal to build an asphalt plant just east of Lawrence. Commissioners were scheduled to consider the final plat and site plan for a 49.3-acre tract south of East Hills Business Park. However, commissioners deferred the matter, saying they wanted more time to study the documents. The applicant, LRM Industries Inc., and a representative for the neighbors who oppose the plant both sent letters to the commission agreeing to the deferral.
Directed county staff to prepare resolutions authorizing the placement of 30 mph speed limit signs north and south of the intersection of Douglas County Roads 1 and 1039 at Lone Star. Commissioners also decided to have two more stop signs installed at the intersection so it's a three-way stop. Commissioners said they hoped the speed limit and stop signs, combined with a planned conversion from a Y- to T-intersection, would help slow traffic and improve safety in Lone Star.
Commissioners also asked public works staff to provide cost information Monday on applying a dust palliative on 1039 south of the intersection. A Lone Star resident said he'd pay for the palliative to be applied on the road north of the bridge if the county paid for the palliative on a stretch of road south from the bridge.
Approved the final plat and a conditional use permit for Kanwaka Township Addition, a one-lot, two-acre tract on the northwest corner of Douglas County Road 1029 and Kanwaka Township Road 1700N, about a half-mile south of U.S. Highway 40. Kanwaka Township, which is buying the land from Dan O. Cain Jr., et al., property owners of record, plans to build a fire station/storage building there.
Commissioners, noting that the request was made by a public entity, also approved a variance from the two-acre minimum lot size requirement in the county subdivision regulations. The property is two acres, but after rights of way and easements are subtracted, the net acreage is only 1.6.
Vern Bartell, township trustee, said township officials originally intended to buy three acres, but found that state statutes allow them to buy no more than two acres without a public vote. Township officials don't feel they can hold up construction for an election, he said, because they're losing their current rental space and they need to store trucks inside during the winter.
Approved a request for a variance from the county subdivision regulation that allows no more than three homes to be built on a private road. The property for which the variance is requested lies south of Wakarusa Township Road 1075N and east of Douglas County Road 458. The request was submitted by Michael and Leanna Alexander, who plan to build a home on a 10-acre property they own.
Approved a contract for right of way for the 31st Street improvement project.