Youth camps ask state for funding guarantee

Officials representing the Douglas County youth camps at China Spring and Aurora Pines Monday asked the state to put the state's share of their annual funding into statute.

District Judge Dave Gamble said they want the state to agree to cover 37 percent of the annual budget for the camps.

He and Douglas County Manager Dan Holler told the Senate Finance Committee the county now has to project its budget for the camps before it knows what the state will come up with. SB491, they argued, eliminates that concern.

"It puts in statute the amount so the counties don't have to wait to find out what they have to pay," said Gamble.

They told the committee the bill sets the state's share of the budget at the historic level of state funding.

"It eliminates the debate over the budget and gives us long-term predictability in terms of funding levels," said Holler.

China Spring is a facility for male juveniles whose crimes aren't so severe they require a full-scale prison sentence. Aurora Pines is a similar facility for female juveniles.

Both facilities serve numerous Nevada counties, which pay according to the number of inmate days they use each year - which covers about two thirds of the operating budgets. The state historically has covered the remainder.

Finance Committee Chairman Bill Raggio, R-Reno, said lawmakers will need a copy of the budgets for both China Spring and Aurora Pines. But he urged the rest of the committee to keep the requests in perspective, since taking care of juvenile offenders in Nevada is a state responsibility.

"Both these facilities were created as an alternative to sending juveniles to Elko, which is at near capacity, or Caliente, which is at near capacity," he said. "If these weren't being operated, the state would have the responsibility for these juveniles."

n Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.


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