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Juvenile Justice Project stays fully funded

Posted at 6:23 PM, Jan 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-12 19:23:36-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — It was just about a month ago that the Douglas County Board voted to add $10 million to the Juvenile Justice Project.

Several board members, including now former member Clare Duda, said project delays and COVID made the extra money necessary.

Tuesday, opponent of the project Jim Cavanaugh tried to take that $10 million back.

“We need to press reset today and just go back with the new board, elected by the people and decide what we want to do going forward,” says Cavanaugh.

Cavanaugh had support. New member Maureen Boyle said she hasn’t seen detailed information from the non-profit steering the project.

“I am voting to rescind the $10 million. The fact that I just don’t have enough information behind the scenes with the 510c3,” says Boyle.

This let the other new member, Mike Friend, who beat Duda after campaigning against the downtown youth detention center, be the swing vote.

Friend voted to not take back the money, saying the old board already made the call and it’s not his role to rescind it.

He also worries taking it back would backfire.

“All of that $10 million has been moved and either been obligated or some of it has actually been spent.”

“I think there are ramifications to pulling this back over, that I don’t think the taxpayer understands, because I don’t,” says Friend.

After a long debate the board narrowly voted the measure down, allowing for the $10 million to stay in the project.

From there they had another long debate. This time whether to spend $2 million of leftover CARES Act dollars on local restaurants and bars hurt by COVID.

They ultimately passed the resolution.

“These are taxpaying mom and pop entities that are the backbone of our economy and we need to help them as soon as we can,” says Cavanaugh.

The county board was also planning on giving millions of dollars in assistance to the homeless, for rent, for food and for mental health, using the leftover CARES Act money.

But they weren’t able to get to any of those agenda items because the meeting went too long and they had to get out of the chamber, so city council could take place.