• Charlene Sims, Journal staff

Juvenile detention center seeks budget increase from county

Updated: Aug 18

MOUND CITY – Linn County Counselor Gary Thompson updated the Linn County Commissioners on the Juvenile Detention Center budget, a budget that was questioned during the county’s special budget meeting on July 15.

Thompson told the commission on Monday, July 25, that he had been in contact with the director, John Kemp, of the Southeast Kansas Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Girard.

Thompson first presented some history about the formation of the Juvenile Detention Center. He said that in 1986, federal legislation required that every county needed to have a plan for a juvenile detention facility.

In 1987 the state of Kansas provided funding to Linn County to help plan for a juvenile intake program. In 1990 the system was created and added five new juvenile detention facilities to the already five existing ones in Kansas. Kansas then set up 10 regions strategically located across Kansas.

Linn County is in the southeast Kansas region with Allen, Bourbon, Chautauqua, Cherokee, Crawford, Labette, Montgomery, Neosho, Wilson, and Woodson counties.

At the beginning, each county paid on the amount of use, but that did not work out well as it was difficult for counties to budget that way. Now, each county pays a different amount to the program based on a formula of 50 percent from the previous year’s use and 50 percent based on the county’s valuation.

Linn County’s contribution has been $73,170 in 2018, $71,625 in 2019, $65,000 in 2020, $55,000 in 2021, and $56,000 in 2022. The regional center has requested the county contribute $58,000 for 2023. Thompson said that by paying this, Linn County gets guaranteed beds for youth offenders as required by law and at a predictable fee.

In 2018, the facility housed three clients for a total of seven bed days; in 2019, 46 days; 2020, 57days; in 2021, 2 days; and so far in 2022, 56 bed days.

Thompson gave the commissioners a comparison of the amounts that other counties were budgeted to pay in 2023. They were Linn at $58,000, Labette at $115,000, and Crawford at $175,000. Of the 11 counties, three paid less than Linn County, and the rest higher.

A board was developed and bylaws were made for this organization in 1994. Each county has one representative on the board and there is also a requirement for an alternate.

At present, Linn County has no one on the board. Previously, a deputy who no longer works for the county was the representative. The commission appointed Commissioner Danny McCullough to be the representative and are in the process of looking for an alternate.

Thompson said that the center was anxious for Linn County have someone on the board and invited the commissioners down to tour the facility.

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