Senate passes tri-county juvenile hall bill
Planning for a new tri-county juvenile hall in Marysville can begin following action by the state Senate to approve grant funding for Colusa, Sutter, and Yuba counties.
The Senate voted unanimously Sept. 12 to support an amended bill that redirects a $5.6 million grant to Colusa County to also include Yuba and Sutter counties. The funds will be used to build a new juvenile hall in Marysville for all three counties.
All that remains is for Gov. Jerry Brown to sign the legislation. The governor's office has already supported the idea of the consolidated facility.
"This is a very important piece of legislation in that it is for a facility that I think is part of the future," state Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber, said Friday. "It is particularly important for small counties that can't afford to do certain things by themselves, but together they can consolidate."
Nielsen, who represents all three counties, was a co-author of the Senate legislation.
Area Assemblyman Dan Logue, R-Loma Rica, authored the legislation in the Assembly, where it also passed unanimously.
"It's very rare to introduce a bill in the last week of the session and get it passed," said Logue, a former Yuba County supervisor. "It was a struggle in the beginning to even get it heard. But as a result of the argument being so compelling, then everybody got on the same page.
"We are pretty excited to be able to make a difference in the community," he said.
Colusa County already contracts to house its juvenile offenders in Glenn County and in Marysville's bi-county hall.
The county approached Yuba and Sutter counties about using the funding for a new tri-county facility. Chief Probation Officer William Fenton said it wouldn't be cost-effective for the county to build a separate facility because of the low number of juveniles it detains.
The plan is to build a new 48-bed juvenile hall on six acres of vacant county-owned property at the west end of 14th Street in Marysville — across the street from the existing bi-county hall.
Fenton estimates that the facility will cost around $7.5 million.
Fenton said that once Brown signs off on the plan, officials for the three counties will come together in an executive steering committee to talk about how they will structure a joint powers agreement and plan the next steps. There is not yet a target date for when construction would start.
In a press release, Sutter County urged Brown to sign the legislation.
"This partnership has fostered a solid relationship and a regular pool of resources, and provides services that would not otherwise be available to smaller counties and the youth they service," said Chief Probation Officer Leticia Paras-Topete. "This has led to improved outcomes of probation youth in the Yuba-Sutter communities."
The single-story, 13,311-square-foot linear design structure was built in the 1940s and was last renovated in 1976; it is an outdated physical design and not conducive to today's programming requirements.
— Colusa County Sun-Herald reporter Monica Vaughan contributed to this story.