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County board approves additional funding for the Justice Center Project in contentious meeting

$10 million in additional funding
Posted at 9:10 AM, Dec 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-15 19:52:39-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — There were fireworks at the Douglas County Board of Commissioners meeting as the vote to add an additional $10 million funding for the Douglas County Justice Center Project, sometimes referred to as the Juvenile Justice Center.

"Come on, quit interrupting me for heaven's sake. Let me talk," Clare Duda, Chair of the Board of Commissioners said during Tuesday's meeting.

Many heated moments filled the meeting as they discussed numerous things. The big item was the vote to add $10 million onto the already $119 million Douglas County Justice Center Project.

The project has already begun, but county leaders said they needed additional funding to make larger rooms and make the air handling system better, which they realized they needed after the coronavirus pandemic began. They also said extra funds were needed because of previous delays that caused the price of the project to go up.

"It is important to do this right because of the courthouse needs and the community needs, because of the needs of the youth and the family," Marc Kraft, a District 5 commissioner said.

Opponents of this motion said the money should be used for things that have been affected by COVID, such as rental assistance and food insecurity. Duda reminded everyone that the $10 million would not come from CARES Act funding. He said about $26 million had been moved from the CARES Act funding to a general county fund.

"These are not CARES Act dollars and I’m not going to allow discussion that pretends that they are because they’re not," Duda said.

The motion passed with Commissioner P.J.Morgan abstaining and Jim Cavanaugh voting "no."

ALSO SEE: NE Gov. Ricketts provides COVID-19 update as vaccines roll out

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