Douglas County leaders will again consider $1.2M reimbursement request from nonprofit originally formed to run crisis center

photo by: Journal-World

The west side of the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts St., is pictured on Sept. 23, 2021.

For the second time in as many months, the Douglas County Commission will consider a more than $1 million reimbursement request from the nonprofit that was formed to run Douglas County’s new behavioral health crisis center.

County leaders will consider the request from Behavioral Health Partners Inc., a nonprofit LMH Health and Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center created with the intent of operating the Treatment and Recovery Center of Douglas County, this Wednesday. As the Journal-World reported, Behavioral Health Partners’ board of directors stepped away from consideration to lead the facility late last year, and Bert Nash was chosen as the operator instead.

Now, BHP is asking for $1,229,551.08 as reimbursement for start-up and development costs incurred in 2022. A little over $1.1 million of that money would go to LMH Health, and the remaining roughly $118,000 would go to Bert Nash.

According to a memo from county staff included with this week’s agenda, staff believes those costs could be paid with TRC grant funds from the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services.

The request first appeared on the agenda for the County Commission’s May 23 meeting when county leaders deferred taking any action until this week’s meeting.

In other business, commissioners will:

• During a work session, hear an overview and update from Cottonwood Inc., the Lawrence nonprofit that provides services and jobs to folks with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

• Hear an update from Central Grazing Company about a feasibility study and recommendations report for a potential meat processing facility in Douglas County.

The funding for the study came from the county’s American Rescue Plan Act funds distributed to a group of county agencies last year.

• Consider funding requests from O’Connell Children’s Shelter and the Center for Supportive Communities to support truancy prevention programming.

O’Connell Children’s Shelter is asking the commission to restore $50,000 in community partner funding, which was held during the county’s 2023 budget process until further work could be completed on the agency’s truancy program. Similarly, another $50,000 was set aside while the Center for Supportive Communities also completed further work.

In the time since then, both agencies have worked with representatives from the county’s Criminal Justice Services office, the District Attorney’s Office, the Douglas County District Court and the Lawrence school district to develop a memorandum of understanding regarding truancy prevention and diversion programs.

• Hear an end-of-year report from Consolidated Fire District No. 1.

• Consider a site plan for 316 East 900 Road west of Baldwin City, a vacant building which was previously Marion Springs Elementary School and the Marion Springs Event Center.

The site plan asks for a change of use for the property from “event center” to “small scale industrial” and “office” use. Axiom Partners, the property owner of record, wants to install a garage door on the east side of the current building and electrical service through Evergy on the property.

• Consider two text amendments to the county’s Zoning and Land Use Regulations. One would correct some minor errors or omissions, and the other would allow for the use of salvage yards across more types of zoning districts.

• Meet in executive session to consult with the county counselor. The justification listed on Wednesday’s agenda is to maintain attorney-client privilege on a legal matter involving Douglas County.

Wednesday’s work session will begin at 4 p.m., followed by the business meeting at 5:30 p.m. at the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts St. The meeting will also be available by Zoom. For meeting information, visit the county’s website:


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