Keep local facility, or move it out of county?

The Okanogan County commissioners are analyzing the costs of continuing to operate the county’s own juvenile-detention facility versus renting a facility in another county.

Okanogan County currently operates its own juvenile-detention facility but state law allows a county to lease detention space, according to a legal notice soliciting comment on the county’s options.

“This effort is primarily in response to concerns about the age and condition of the current juvenile detention facility which impacts level of service to both the juveniles and staff,” according to the notice.

The commissioners are seeking comments from interested members of the public, agencies and private organizations to help identify issues that must be evaluated in an effective cost-benefits analysis of juvenile-detention options.

Comments regarding impacts – both positive and negative – of retaining an in-county facility or switching to an out-of-county facility are desired.

Comments should be directed to Planning Director Perry Huston at phuston@co.okanogan.wa.us or (509) 422-7218, or Juvenile Administrator Dennis Rabidou at drabidou@co.okanogan.wa.us or (509) 422-7264.

The commissioners will meet with Okanogan County Superior Court officials on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 8:15 a.m. in the commissioners’ hearing room in Okanogan. They will begin their preliminary review of comments and set a meeting schedule.

The commissioners are accepting comments throughout their analysis. No deadline has been set for the end of the process.

Meeting schedules, agendas, public comments, county correspondence and related documents are available at www.okanogancounty.org/planning.

Anyone who is unable to access the materials online or who wants to be placed on a notification list should contact Lauren Davidson in the Planning Department at (509) 422-7160 or ldavidson@co.okanogan.wa.us.