County infusion won’t save
Leavenworth County commissioners are transferring additional money into the Community Corrections department, but it won't be enough to save a program that counsels entire families about stopping juvenile delinquency.
Commissioners on Thursday agreed to transfer $15,000 to the Community Corrections department out of the general fund to recruit and hire a temporary, on-call employee.
The department manages prevention programs, intake and assessment, and graduated sanctions programs aimed at rehabilitating offenders so that actual incarceration is not necessary.
Community Corrections Director Mikel Lovin explained the funding shortages that the department is currently facing.
Due to a state formula, the department saw a $6,700 reduction in funding this year and a $46,000 cut the previous year, despite having a heavier workload and more successful programs, Lovin said.
"We continue to grow but continue to see a decrease in funding," Commission Chairman J.C. Tellefson said.
One of the department's most successful programs -- multisystemic therapy -- will be discontinued as of June 1. The program, said Anne DeShazo of the Juvenile Justice Authority, is one of the most popular and most utilized programs by judges. In it, entire families are counseled in an attempt to keep delinquents housed in residences in Leavenworth County and prevent the costs associated with transporting them to other facilities throughout the state.
The program utilizes two therapists that carry a maximum of five cases for a period no longer than five months. According to Dr. Dave Barnum, who runs the program through the county Guidance Center, the therapists are "intensely involved" with their clients. They work five to six hours a week on a single case, are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and routinely have faceto- face contact with the juvenile offenders and their families.
The loss of a state grant is causing cuts in the program statewide.
Commissioner Clyde Graeber asked if the current situation in the 1st Judicial District was different than in other areas across Kansas.
"I believe that every justice authority in the state is in the same boat if not a similar one," Lovin said.
Graeber said he would forward Lovin's concerns to state officials.
In other business Thursday, the board:
- Discussed reimbursement of employee-volunteers at a bioterrorism disaster exercise. The employees were paid at their current full-time rate of pay, but Commissioner Dean Oroke suggested that in the future, a standard stipend be set to ensure that each county employee receives the same, equitable amount.
- Heard a monthly report from the Public Works Department. Among topics discussed were road improvements, including work to be done on 147th Street between McIntyre Road and Dempsey Road, bridge projects and wastewater projects.
The board unanimously authorized J.W. Evans to acquire right-of-way on 150th Street.
- Approved, 3-0, the purchase of a Chevrolet Malibu for the Council on Aging from Ed Bozarth Chevrolet of Topeka -- a state contractor -- at a price of $14,113.
The council will use the vehicle to transport immobile seniors to medical appointments.
- Voted, 2-0 with Tellefson abstaining, to select Horst, Terrill and Karst of Topeka as the architecture firm used for a new Emergency Management Services Building to be constructed near the intersection of 16th Street and Metropolitan Avenue in Leavenworth.
- Unanimously approved the purchase of a color copier for the Emergency Management department at a cost of over $3,000.
- Approved, 2-0 (Tellefson was attending a Juvenile Corrections Advisory Board meeting in Atchison), a special use permit requested by Randal Seber for a 4800- square-foot shop building located on his property at 25276 183rd St. in Leavenworth. The shop will house a garage for Seber's field service truck, which is used for his mechanic business.
- Approved, 2-0, a special use permit for a new home to be built on two 40-acre tracts on West 87th Street near De Soto that will be used to house no more than 15 adult show dogs.
In business Monday, commissioners:
- Unanimously approved preliminary and final plats for just under eight acres of land owned by Metro Farms LLC near the intersection of Metro Avenue and 158th Street in southern Leavenworth County. Road impact and traffic impact fees will be collected from the developer, which in part may fund improvements on Metro Avenue leading to the proposed subdivision.
- Approved, 3-0, a special use permit for a 120-foot-tall water standpipe to be built by Rural Water District No. 6 on county land at the intersection of Sandusky Road and McLouth Road, just south of the county rock quarry. The commission previously leased a parcel to RWD No. 6 north of the communications tower at that location but moved the site 300-feet west of the tower so as not to interfere with communication signals. The special use permit is valid for 20 years.
- Voted, 3-0, to issue a special use permit to Sean and Kelly Strain for an equine veterinary hospital on their newly purchased property at 17041 158th Street, directly north of Interstate 70. The facility will provide emergency care and ambulatory service for sick and injured horses.