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Still no consensus on juvenile justice center

Posted: 4:34 PM, Aug 20, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-20 21:34:49Z

The Douglas County Board is debating on how to proceed with a new juvenile justice center, with two proposals currently on the table but every board member says the need is there for new facilities sometime soon. 

"The components that we're talking about here currently work, I mean the courts work, the youth center works, the attorney offices work, but they are not ideal," says Jim Cavanaugh, Douglas County board member.

Cavanaugh has offered his alternative $50 million plan for the justice center that is cheaper than the original proposal and delays the process, waiting for a public vote this November or 2020.

"I think it's important in a democracy to have the consent of the people involved in a project, particularly one of this magnitude," says Cavanaugh.

Currently juvenile court has smaller than preferred courtrooms while they are building more courtrooms upstairs in the courthouse to meet demand, many commissioners want the juvenile courtrooms, jail, attorney offices and services to be consolidated into one location, near 18th and Harney. 

 “So it's all there, all in one spot, so if somebody who goes into court has to meet with their probation officer they are right there, if they have to go to court and have to meet with their attorney, they're right there," says Mary Ann Borgeson, board member. 

Cavanaugh says some commissioners are still considering his cheaper proposal that would instead renovate the current facility while Borgeson says commissioners are working out final details on the original $120 million plan.

 "As we do the design and the structuring of how all of this works, we want to know what is missing especially those that have been in the system or through the system," says Borgeson. 

"This is not a done deal, I think there has been some movement among my colleagues to entertain alternatives to what was put out there as a $120 million tax increase without any public vote," says Cavanaugh.

The public has another chance to speak out tomorrow as a meeting will be held at 10 a.m. with a focus on gauging opinions of people that have already been in the system.