Douglas County Commission authorizes debt plan for $8.8 million of behavioral health campus costs

photo by: Meeting screenshot/Douglas County Commission

The Douglas County Commission discusses a $8.8 million debt finance plan for the construction of the Treatment and Recovery Campus of Douglas County during a meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.

Douglas County will take on debt to pay for costs associated with the construction of a behavioral health campus and refinance some of its current debt to save almost $1 million.

The County Commission on Wednesday authorized the sale of general obligation bonds to cover $8.8 million of the costs for the construction of the three housing and treatment facilities at the Treatment and Recovery Campus of Douglas County, including a 20,000-square-foot behavioral health crisis center. The construction of two of the facilities — Transitions and The Cottages — is almost complete, while the construction on the crisis center will begin soon.


Douglas County Commission to consider debt financing for behavioral health center

County Administrator Sarah Plinsky told the Journal-World earlier this week the county would pursue a plan with 20 years of debt service. While she said at the time the county won’t know how much its annual debt service will be until the county sells the bonds, Dave MacGillivray, a financial advisor for Baker Tilly, told the commissioners on Wednesday he anticipates the annual costs to be roughly $515,000 a year.

The county plans to sell the bonds for the project next month and pay off the debt through the mental health quarter-cent sales tax, which county voters approved in 2018. The county estimates that sales tax will generate about $4.7 million for the 2021 budget.

Along with the sale of the bonds, the commissioners also authorized refinancing some of the remaining debt the county took on to expand its 911 system, which was approved in 2013. The refinancing, which will occur at the same time as the bond sale, will reduce the interest rate on about $10.1 million of the remaining debt to save the county a total of about $870,000, MacGillivray said.

MacGillivray said that move is possible because the current interest rate market is “very steady and very low.”

In other business, the commissioners approved entering into an agreement with the City of Eudora to establish an urban growth area surrounding its city limits.

The urban growth area includes three tiers with certain development guidelines covering Eudora’s current city limits and areas the city anticipates annexing in the future. It will be used as an area in which the city and county prefer development to occur in the hopes that it would make Eudora’s urban growth more efficient.

Eudora City Manager Barack Matite said with the County Commission’s approval, the agreement will now be considered by the Eudora City Commission.

The commissioners also approved awarding an amended conditional use permit to Pine Landscape Center, which is located at 1783 East 1500 Road. The business wanted to expand the permit’s footprint to the western side of the property, which would be used to create a new customer service area for the purposes of reducing traffic issues.

Related coverage:

• Nov. 10, 2019 — Construction of behavioral health campus set to begin, but price tag for Douglas County may grow

• Feb. 16, 2020 — Health leaders provide updated facility design for planned Douglas County behavioral health crisis center

• March 27, 2020 — Douglas County crisis center receives $750K in state budget

• Oct. 7, 2020 — Construction of Douglas County behavioral health crisis center expected to cost $8 million

• Oct. 13, 2020 — Douglas County Commission to consider authorizing financial plan for proposed behavioral health crisis center

• Oct. 14, 2020 — Douglas County Commission approves financial plan for behavioral health crisis center project

Contact Dylan Lysen

Have a story idea, news or information to share? Contact reporter Dylan Lysen:


Welcome to the new Our old commenting system has been replaced with Facebook Comments. There is no longer a separate username and password login step. If you are already signed into Facebook within your browser, you will be able to comment. If you do not have a Facebook account and do not wish to create one, you will not be able to comment on stories.