Brown County commissioners will consider a resolution when they meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday to request the transfer of the closed Unit 2 at the Brownwood state school to the county.
Brown County Judge Ray West explained a provision in the legislation that fused what was the Texas Youth Commission and the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission into a single agency - the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.
The provision, West said, allows a county to request that any of the closed former TYC facilities be conveyed to the county if it will be used for juvenile issues. If a county does not request the facility, West said, another local government entity can make the request.
West said the plan would be to move the county's juvenile probation department and juvenile lockup from their current locations in the former Brown County Jail on Houston Street, to the Unit 2 facility.
West explained the advantage of moving out of the Houston Street jail to Unit 2: "We won't have to weed-eat it before we sweep it." West said the Houston Street facility is "falling down around our ears" and "deteriorating at a rapid pace."
West said Unit 2 had housed about 120 juveniles in a mix of individual cells and dorm rooms. That's far more room than the county needs - in the current juvenile lockup, "we may have one (juvenile), we may have eight."
The extra space would enable Brown County to take juveniles from other counties at a charge to those counties, West said.
The county wants all of the buildings associated with Unit 2, West said. "We'll find a use for it," West said of the extra space. "It'll be a nice facility for the county to have, absolutely."
The juvenile lockup at Unit 2 would continue to be a short-term facility, West said. "It will not change the status of the facility," he said.
West said he will attend January's meeting of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. "I will be present at that meeting to present our request. I will explain to them what our intended use of the building will be," West said.
Also Tuesday, commissioners will take up an item related to the
purchase of a water heating system at the Law Enforcement Center. . An action item on the commissioners' agenda authorizes the approval of a proposal for labor and equipment.
Commissioners earlier approved a $52,360 purchase for a system that includes new 250-gallon tanks. It will replace a water heating system that is operating on borrowed time at half-capacity, commissioners were told.
One tank has a leak and cannot be used at all. In the other tank, the heat exchange has gone out and is operating on the other unit's heat exchange.