By Conrad Dudderar
EL RENO – Youthful offenders from other counties stay at Canadian County’s juvenile detention facility through annual contracts – the first two of which were renewed this week by the county’s elected officials.
Canadian County commissioners, at their weekly meeting June 12, voted unanimously to approve contracts with Payne and Pontotoc counties “for the provision to secure juvenile detention services” for fiscal year 2024.
“There’ll be a lot more coming,” said Melanie Johnson, director of the Gary E. Miller Canadian County Children’s Justice Center (CCCJC).
About two dozen counties sign annual contracts to utilize detention bed space at the center, 7905 E Highway 66 in El Reno.
“Each year, we enter into these agreements with other counties,” Canadian County Commission Chairman Dave Anderson told first-year commissioners Tracey Rider and Tom Manske.
“The State of Oklahoma pays 85% of the cost and the counties we engage with pay 15% of the cost to place kids in a ‘regional’ center.”
Canadian County’s juvenile detention center qualifies through the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs (OJA).
Canadian County juveniles have priority over out-of-county juveniles for available detention bed space.
“We give beds first to our (Canadian County) kids,” Johnson said.
In a 1996 election, Canadian County voters approved establishing a .35% countywide sales tax to fund construction and ongoing operations of the county’s juvenile detention center and other juvenile justice programs.
These juvenile detention housing contracts with outside counties “benefits us,” Chairman Anderson said.
“At first, years ago, I was a little apprehensive opening our doors to kids from other counties,” he said. “But our facility can hold that many.
“We’re not doing this at the expense of turning Canadian County kids away.
“And it does provide some additional revenue to us for the operation of the center.”
Canadian County’s four-term District 2 commissioner pointed out that the State of Oklahoma does pays 85% of the cost to house some Canadian County juveniles in CCCJC detention beds.
“It’s not like other counties are getting a great benefit from our taxpayer dollars,” Anderson added.
In other CCCJC news, county commissioners on June 12 formally awarded a $291,650 bid to Jackson Mechanical for a plumbing “retrofit” project in the juvenile detention facility.
Eight plumbing contractors were solicited about submitting proposals, but Jackson was the only bidder.
The bid was based on specifications provided by an engineer, according to Director Johnson.
ODDS N ENDS …
Among other business at their June 12th meeting, Canadian County commissioners approved:
- Change orders totaling $6,929.03 to Security Solutions’ contract for a building security access management system project at county government offices.
- Renting a roll-off dumpster from the Oklahoma Environmental Management Authority (OEMA) for the Canadian County Election Board.
- Renting a reclaimer from Kirby Smith Machinery for District 3.
- A resolution allowing Canadian County Emergency Management to accept a $500 donation from Devon Energy Corp. Devon has been a “very good community partner,” Chairman Anderson noted.
- A resolution to amend Canadian County’s flood damage prevention regulations increasing the gas pipeline burial permit fee from $300 to $500.
- A resolution to dispose of county equipment for the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office for 14 vehicles – including SUVs, pickup, 12-passenger van, and cars – sold in an online auction.
- Tabling for one week awarding a bid for portable cement crusher services in District 1. Schwarz Ready Mix submitted the only bid, for $10.50 per ton.
Canadian County Undersheriff Kevin Ward presented the weekly county jail report showing an inmate population totaling 183, with 149 prisoners at the El Reno detention center and 34 others housed in contracted counties.
The total count is down 10 from last week as 38 prisoners await transfer to state Department of Corrections’ custody.