Board approves project manager for juvenile hall
The Colusa County Board of Supervisors approved a contract Tuesday to make Harry Munyan the project manager of the new $5.67 million juvenile hall.
The 10-bed facility will be built behind the Sheriff's Department where the animal control shelter is currently located.
Steve Bordin, whose last day as chief probation officer for Colusa County is Thursday, said the project could not be in better hands.
"(Munyan) has built numerous juvenile halls throughout the state," Bordin told the supervisors.
The task-based contract is for about $124,000, and will likely extend out four years.
Bordin said ground breaking for the facility should be in about two years, or about 18 months after the design phase begins. The county is currently working through the tedious lease application process for state funding, though the money has already been approved.
The funds for Munyan's contract will be applied to the county's 5 percent share of the project, Munyan said.
The county has long considered the idea of having its own juvenile hall.
This specific project dates back to 2007.
"Realizing the state was going to being reducing allowed commitments to the Department of Juvenile Justice (formerly California Youth Authority), they released grant proposal funding for additional juvenile halls," Bordin said.
Colusa County did not qualify in the first round of funding, but its project was approved in the second round.
"So for the last one and a half years, Mr. Munyan has been working the lease bond application," Bordin said.
"Right now, we are in the first year of a five-year process," Bordin added.
So far, the county has spent just under $100,000 on the project. That also is applied to the county's matching requirement for the project, Bordin said.
In the long run, Bordin said, the facility will save the county money, and should reduce the juvenile crime rate.
"One of the advantages of having our own juvenile hall is we will be able to begin programming our youth as soon as they are incarcerated," Bordin said.
The behavior modification program, called evidence-based programming, allows the staff to focus its energy on the most severe cases.
The progress is already evident, Bordin said, with the case loads dramatically reduced and the average number of juveniles detained in juvenile halls and group homes also have been shaved.
"We have the same issues as every other county in the states, just on a smaller scale," Bordin said. "We have rapists, the gang bangers, the petty thefts; but as a small county, we can address them faster."
Bordin said the idea of using the Fouts Springs juvenile facility in Stonyford was examined, but the distance and security issues made it a poor choice.
The county also looked at sharing facilities or creating a regional juvenile hall with other small counties in similar situations. The information that came back is the county would be better off with its own, Bordin said.
Bordin hopes the county will start planning for expansion of the facility soon after the new one is ready. That, he admits, will largely depend on funding.
In the meantime, the county is conducting a needs assessment and feasibility study for a new animal shelter.
Lt. Shane Maxey said that study will project out the county's needs over the next 20 years, providing information on what size and kind of a facility will be needed, and in turn, the amount of land that will be necessary.
Obviously, it will be critical for the county to have those answers before the juvenile hall construction is ready to start.