Douglas County commissioners to consider Treatment and Recovery Center’s request to form advisory board

photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World

The Douglas County Courthouse is pictured Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022.

Douglas County commissioners on Wednesday will consider approving a request from the Treatment and Recovery Center of Douglas County to form a 10- to 15-member advisory group that would meet quarterly.

The TRC, which opened in April, is designed for inpatient stays of up to 72 hours. TRC officials recently told county commissioners that the facility had served around 800 patients but that it was experiencing difficulties in referring some patients to long-term treatment facilities like Osawatomie State Hospital.

According to a memo from Bob Tryanski, director of behavioral health projects, the advisory group would be composed of “community leaders, subject-matter experts, and lived-experience advocates” equipped with “a broad range of experience and expertise in behavioral health.” Tryanski said the group would operate in an advisory capacity by “providing consensus-based recommendations to the TRC and the Douglas County Crisis Response Coalition.”

According to the county’s “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement,” at least 35% of the group’s members are required to have lived-experience directly related to “mental illness, substance-use disorders and/or housing insecurity.” The memo noted that “two to three” advisory group members would represent five different sectors: Physician/clinical expertise, community advocates, lived-experience, law enforcement/EMS/justice system, and organizational management/human services/legal.

The appointment process for the advisory group would be similar to the appointment process for other county boards and commissions. After the application period closes in January 2024, Bert Nash and County staff would reach out to applicants to give commissioners a list of individuals they recommend for appointment in February 2024.

In other business, commissioners will:

• Hear a presentation from the county’s Zoning and Codes and Planning staffs detailing results of a comprehensive review of existing conditional use permits. The review focused on CUPs that are potentially inactive or no longer in compliance with enforcement codes. A memo to commissioners from Leo Ruhnke, an administrative zoning specialist, said that the review provided staff with “a general idea of what would be necessary to bring non-compliant uses (of CUPs) back into compliance.” According to the memo, staff reviewed “nearly all 416 documented CUPs on an individual basis,” and were able to “establish a comprehensive database” for those. For the review process, staff sought to ascertain the date of approval, review date, expiration date, conditions of approval, and active/inactive/compliance statuses of all CUP permits spanning to 1969.

• Consider approving a statement that outlines the county’s top priorities for the upcoming 2024 Kansas legislative session. According to a memo from Assistant County Administrator Jill Jolicoeur, the priorities include continued investments in the areas of competency restoration (for individuals who have been declared incompetent to stand trial) and community intervention services, affordable housing, land use, infrastructure, and climate action and adaptation. The memo also noted that the county supports other objectives, including the preparations for the multibillion dollar Panasonic battery plant in De Soto, Medicaid expansion, criminal justice reform and a repeal of Senate Bill 180, which bans transgender people from using the bathrooms and other gender-specific areas associated with their gender identity.

• Hear a work session presentation that provides an overview of currently available tax incentive programs administered by the county’s “Tax Team” and the impacts of those programs locally. The programs include Neighborhood Revitalization Area (properties), Tax Increment Finance (districts), Transportation Development Districts, Rural Housing Incentive Districts and Industrial Revenue Bonds. The programs, according to a memo from County Appraiser Brad Eldridge, provide incremental property tax revenues generated within a specific area that offset certain development or construction costs.

• Consider accepting, in the consent agenda, two grant awards totaling roughly $61,000 for Douglas County and City of Lawrence public safety personnel. The Byrne Justice Assistance grants from 2021 and 2022 would be divided equally between the City of Lawrence and Douglas County. The funds would be earmarked for “digital media equipment, Digital Multimedia Evidence acquisition, (evidence) analysis, and storage for criminal investigations.”

The commission’s work session begins at 4 p.m. at the Douglas County Courthouse at 11th and Massachusetts streets. The regular meeting follows at 5:30 p.m. The meeting can be viewed via Zoom. The agenda packet can be found on the county’s website,

Note: This story has been revised to correct the title of County Appraiser Brad Eldridge.


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