LITTLE FALLS -- Because it is losing money monthly, decisions loom on how to restructure the Central Minnesota Juvenile Center.
And the question remains whether Aitkin, Crow Wing and Morrison counties can afford to keep it. The three counties help fund the juvenile center's operations.
In March, commissioners voted to come up with an additional $200,000 to keep the juvenile center afloat for a handful of months. Tuesday, Michael Kafka, community corrections executive director, told commissioners gathered at a joint powers meeting in Little Falls that another $250,000 may be needed.
The juvenile center costs about $1 million to operate annually.
Commissioners sought a review of operations and options on whether to keep the juvenile center, close it or change it.
The juvenile center has been operating at a loss of about $25,000 a month. But the juvenile center has experienced a population increase recently and the money lost in April was $7,659.
As of April 30, the fund for the juvenile center was $82,357.87 in the hole. Administration overhead and control room staff were cost drivers. Staff costs, with 17 full-time equivalent positions, amount to about $800,000.
In 2004, Aitkin County paid $73,016.51 for secure detention and $44,932.94 for programming. Crow Wing County paid $248,667.08 for secure detention and $79,212.60 for programming. Morrison County paid $93,894.70 for secure detention and $22,612.99 for programming.
Kafka said the juvenile center's $1,056,721 annual budget is lean. The juvenile center has been chronically under-financed, Kafka told commissioners. He said the forecasted shortfall of $250,000 is from normal annual variations in the center's population.
The center had 21 juveniles in secure detention recently and 17 juveniles in the center Tuesday. The 2005 average occupancy is 10 to 12, with numbers as low as five or spikes to 17 juveniles considered infrequent.
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