Douglas County Board of Commissioners

Douglas County Board of Commissioners
Development
Health
Housing
Elections
Criminal Justice
Politics

1819 Farnam St, Omaha, Nebraska 68183 Omaha, NE 68183 (Directions)

Omaha-Douglas Civic Center, Legislative Chambers

The county operates under the board of commissioners-administrator form of government. Policymaking and legislative authority is vested in the Board of Commissioners, which consists of seven members. The Board of Commissioners is responsible, among other things, for passing resolutions, adopting the budget, appointing committees and hiring the county’s chief administrative officer. The board is elected within their respective districts. Board members are elected to four-year terms, staggered, with three or four members elected every two years. The Chief Administrative Officer is responsible for carrying out the policies and resolutions of the Board, for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the county, and for appointing the heads of county departments that do not have an elected official.

Check the source website for additional information

Reporting

Edited and summarized by the Omaha - NE Documenters Team

Note-taking by Will Ramsey

Live reporting by Anton Johnson

Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting
Good morning, I'll be live-tweeting today's Douglas County Board meeting for @oma_documenters

Today the County Board will consider delaying the move to the new juvenile center until population numbers come down

youtube.com/live/ls7PBRA_g…

08:59 AM Aug 8, 2023 CDT

Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 2/72
Starting with board of equalization
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 3/72
On a resolution approving property valuations for 2023 protests, county clerk Dan Esch thanked county staff for their work. He said the assessor’s office has always been helpful
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 4/72
Commissioner Jim Cavanaugh thanked Esch and county staff for making the information easy to access
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 5/72
Howard Hahn, who represents a property whose protest was dismissed, wants the property valuation reduced to less than $8 million. It was assessed at $11.8 million
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 6/72
Comm Cavanaugh said the system for approving valuations isn’t perfect, but the assessor’s office offers their expertise which is valuable
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 7/72
Comm Maureen Boyle said she apologizes for the process, which she said has “no sense of fairness”
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 8/72
The County Board approved the 2023 valuations
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 9/72
Valuations approved for properties that reported destroyed real property
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 10/72
Beulah Pope is appealing the rejection of her homestead exemption.

Mike Goodwillie from the assessor’s office said she didn’t meet the ownership requirements, but he said they wouldn’t challenge it if the County Board decided to grant the exemption
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 11/72
Jewel Rogers said she helps care for Pope while her son is incarcerated. She said Pope didn’t understand the implications of temporarily transferring ownership to her son
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 12/72
Pope still lived at the home full-time during that time
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 13/72
Comm Cavanaugh said Pope’s letter makes a compelling case, and that she tried to do the right thing by transferring ownership to her son.
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 14/72
He said he’ll support the exemption to rectify the situation
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 15/72
The approved Beulah Pope’s homestead exemption 7-0
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 16/72
Moving on to the regular agenda
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 17/72
Consent agenda approved
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 18/72
The Board recognized the retirement of Thelesia Secret after 29 years at the Health Center
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 19/72
During citizen comment, Ed Fogarty said the county can avoid a federal clawback of ARPA funds for mental health by spending money on training and services rather than capital expenditures
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 20/72
Amber Wood said many people wanted to speak during last week’s meeting on an issue, but the item was pushed back. She said it isnt fair for people to take time off work and not have the opportunity to speak
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 21/72
Moving on to public hearings
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 22/72
The Board approved the reappointment of the Trustees of the Hospital Authority No. 2
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 23/72
Golf car ordinances approved for various SIDs in the county
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 24/72
The Board approved special use permits for two landscape businesses in Bennington and one in Elkhorn
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 25/72
On an amendment to zoning regulations, environmental services director Kent Holms said the new Accessory Dwelling Unit residential use type will give the county more options
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 26/72
An ADU is an independent home on the lot of another home that may be rented out
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 27/72
Zoning amendment approved
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 28/72
The Board approved $100,000 in ARPA for the North Omaha Cultural Center to develop a tourism and multicultural center
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 29/72
Next is a resolution to keep the current Douglas County Youth Center open until the detainee population is reduced to 54 youth for six consecutive months
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 30/72
This would delay the move to the new Youth and Family Support Center, which has a smaller capacity
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 31/72
Sandra Preston said she’s an advocate for DCYC bc of her work with Release Ministries. She said DCYC provides a secure facility and guidance for youth, but the county is dropping the ball by not providing more accountability
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 32/72
Comm Roger Garcia said the new facility has only 64 beds with an operational capacity of about 52 beds. DCYC’s population peaked to over 90 earlier this year, and is currently in the mid 70s
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 33/72
He said the day-over-day population can fluctuate significantly, making capacity the biggest need
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 34/72
Garcia said keeping both centers open would much more expensive — an extra $3 million over a year
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 35/72
The resolution also calls for the County Board to conduct quarterly public reviews of data on youth detainment, including a full report by the director of the Youth Center
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 36/72
Comm Friend said the resolution gives them more time, opportunities, and relieves them of some concerns.
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 37/72
Comm Maureen Boyle said judges need to be involved in the process more, and the county needs more programs to prevent recidivism
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 38/72
Comm Garcia said the pandemic brought an uptick in youth gun violence, which is a complicated issue without a simple solution. He said some youth need to be detained to be rehabilitated
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 39/72
Garcia said there needs to be robust programming for youth, which he said isnt there yet
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 40/72
Teresa Negron from Youturn Omaha said public safety is paramount, but there needs to be more solutions than “lock them up.”
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 41/72
Comm Cavanaugh said this project is over time and over budget. He said they need to take time to reset on the process to prevent from going further wrong
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 42/72
Comm PJ Morgan said the youth center isnt over budget, and that Comm Cavanaugh was referring to different aspects of the justice center project
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 43/72
Amber Wood said “consequences teach.” She said her daughter’s murderers were involved in the youtu justice system and weren’t rehabilitated
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 44/72
She said if rehabilitation programs arent there or arent working, than they need capacity for detention to keep the public safe
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 45/72
Tammy Parker said her son was killed by a 14-year-old last year. She said the murderer is now in a group home rather than incarceration
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 46/72
Another speaker said her daughter has been through the justice system, and “she’s been failed every step of the way.” She said the youth center needs to stay open
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 47/72
County attorney Don Kleine said the capacity is needed for public safety. He said they make difficult decisions everyday with young people
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 48/72
He added that trafficking is a big part of the problem
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 49/72
Sheriff Aaron Hansen said the county doesnt have enough viable alternatives to detention, and the alternatives that do exist are increasingly being used by youth from outside the county
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 50/72
Hansen said the transitional infrastructure in Douglas County is lacking
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 51/72
One speaker said they need to do more to rebuild in North Omaha to keep youth away from crime
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 52/72
Linda Richards said her son was threatened by a youth with an ankle monitor. She said the county isnt ready to close DCYC, so they need to take this extra time
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 53/72
Comm Chris Rodgers said nobody is advocating for any dangerous individuals to be released. He said this is about getting kids the services they need
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 54/72
Rodgers said they are on track to reduce population numbers. He said the resolution would limit what they can do
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 55/72
Comm Borgeson said she’s spoken with youth who have graduated from Reconnect Inc. She said providers in the community have stepped up to support youth
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 56/72
Borgeson said the juvenile system is a rehabilitative system. If you want to change that, take it up with the Legislature, she said
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 57/72
Comm Rodgers said there are ongoing conversations about various actions to reduce numbers.
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 58/72
He said he’d join in on a similar resolution later this year, but right now, Rodgers is in opposition
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 59/72
Comm Boyle asked Rodgers how the resolution would limit what the county can do.

Rodgers said if they reach the number they will be ready to move in, and the six month requirement would waste time
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 60/72
Comm Boyle said she doesn’t like having the hard number — 54 — as the requirement, rather than changing the language to the new facility’s “operational capacity”
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 61/72
Comm Friend also said he doesnt think the number is necessary
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 62/72
Borgeson said this resolution is redundant with the resolution passed by the County Board in May, which called for the DCYC population to be reduced to 55 by the end of the year
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 63/72
On removing the number, Comm Garcia said its important to define what operational capacity is to have a tangible goal
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 64/72
Comm Cavanaugh asked if the occupancy permit defines the operation capacity.

Brad Alexander from DCYC said it would not
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 65/72
Alexander said the standard for operational capacity is 80% of beds, which would be 52 for 64 beds
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 66/72
Rodgers said he agrees on the number, but his issue is the six month requirement.
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 67/72
Comm Morgan said a resolution needs to be passed today, but he’s open to compromise
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 68/72
Comm Cavanaugh said the May resolution doesn’t have any tangible legal effect, while today’s resolution does
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 69/72
Rodgers moved for an amendment to remove the six month requirement, which failed 3-4
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 70/72
The amendment to remove the 54 number passed 6-1, Garcia voting no
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 71/72
The Youth Center resolution as amended passed 5-2, Rodgers and Borgeson voting no
Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting 72/72
The County Board went into executive session at 1:01 pm

Agency Information

Douglas County Board of Commissioners

Douglas County, incorporated in 1854, forms part of one of the nation’s major metropolitan areas along the Missouri River, with Omaha as its largest city. The county has a broad-based economy with strong trade, service, and manufacturing sectors, with many corporations headquartered in the county. This is the major insurance and telemarketing center of the United States. The employment base is diverse and employment remains stable. Douglas County’s unemployment rate has consistently remained below the state and national averages. The county operates under the board of commissioners-administrator form of government. Policy making is vested in the Board of Commissioners, which consists of seven members.

Documents

No documents available

More from this agency

Douglas County Board of Commissioners

Douglas County Board of Commissioners

Tuesday, July 23, 2024

9:00 a.m. CDT

Douglas County Board of Commissioners

Douglas County Board of Commissioners

Tuesday, July 30, 2024

9:00 a.m. CDT

Douglas County Board of Commissioners

Douglas County Board of Commissioners

Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2024

9:00 a.m. CDT