The Benton County Board of Commissioners received a final presentation on the costs and recommended projects for the planned May 16, 2023, Justice System Improvement Program (JSIP) bond measure. The total cost of facilities for the proposed bond measure is $114 million and staff presented a number of bond cost scenarios ranging from $100 million up to $114 million. After discussion, the Board voted to set the bond amount at $110 million.
Commissioners directed staff to explore additional funding strategies including requesting funding from the Oregon State Legislature for the Emergency Operations Center. If not successful in securing this support, the County may need to consider reprioritization of other planned budget programs or services. The Board will continue the reprioritization discussion later this month.
The bond measure would fund a new co-located correctional facility, Sheriff’s Office, and emergency operations center. It would also include up to $4.5 million for an expanded youth mental health services facility and a homelessness services facility.
In November, the Board decided to include funding in the bond package for homelessness services facilities. The decision is to support the preferred partner option of the Corvallis Daytime Drop-in Center’s (CDDC) homelessness resources and housing navigation center project.
At their December 20, 2022 meeting, the board supported the inclusion of expanded facilities for youth mental health to address the growing need for services in Benton County. According to Behavioral Health Deputy Director, Damien Sands, the County has a lack of space to serve youth in need of services.
“Over the last decade, the County has seen the need to serve children and youth skyrocket, with numerous conditions from depression to substance use continuing to rise. Right now, we lack the space to accommodate the growing needs. Our Children and Family Program do amazing work as a part of the larger Behavioral Health team at Benton County. Expanded facilities will help them continue in that good work,” Sands said.
The Justice System Improvement Program, is the County’s most comprehensive approach ever to improve Benton County’s justice system to be equitable, effective, and safe. The total estimated cost for JSIP facilities is $179 million and County staff have been exploring all possible funding sources. Phase I of the program is now fully funded and includes the new courthouse and District Attorney’s office. It will be funded with County borrowing and a 50% state matching grant for the courthouse. Phase II facilities include those that will be included in a bond to go before voters this May.