The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

JoCo Board of Supervisors to defer vote on $1 million in funding youth crisis services

The county had been planning on providing over $1 million to a local nonprofit, but was advised to defer a vote to avoid legal complications because of Iowa’s constitution.
Sara Stumpff
The Johnson County Board of Supervisors sit at a panel during a meeting at the Johnson County Administration Building in Iowa City on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023.

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors delayed a vote to approve over $1 million in funding for the Youth Crisis Stabilization and Emergency Housing Project on Wednesday to avoid legal troubles with Iowa’s constitution.

Despite the supervisor’s support to provide funding, they were advised by Ryan Maas, the assistant county attorney, to defer their vote to avoid violating Iowa’s constitution. 

The funding would pay for renovations at the program’s property at the former Kinderfarm Preschool — located roughly seven miles away from Iowa City. The $1.2 million purchase on Aug. 28 was funded by the East Central Iowa Mental Health Region. The facilities, however, are in need of remodeling.  

The East Central Region was not willing to provide funding for the remodel, but would consider reimbursing Johnson County should the county provide funds for renovations, according to the county’s Wednesday work session agenda

Maas said it is against the constitution for the board to give a donation to a private entity, which in this case, is a nonprofit. He requested time to find a way to give the program the required funds within the confines of Iowa’s constitution. 

Under Maas’ advice, the board decided to defer the vote, with a vote previously planned for this week’s formal meeting, according to its agenda.  

Sarah Nelson, chief executive officer of CommUnity Crisis Services, said the region is noncommittal because they are at the beginning of its fiscal year.

Vice Chair Rod Sullivan said the funding for this service should not be on the taxpayers of Johnson County, but rather on the taxpayers of the state of Iowa. 

Youth Crisis Stabilization is now considered a core service in the state. Johnson County’s previous youth shelter closed on July 1 this year, but Nelson said she is hopeful to open the new Youth Crisis Stabilization center by January 2024. 

Since July 26, the program received federal funding for a basic center shelter. The facility will allow the program to take in voluntary youth, particularly individuals law enforcement assist in the instances of human trafficking or homelessness. 

Funds will be used to complete required improvements to bring the facilities up to code and fulfill licensing requirements, Nelson said. 

“I think this is another opportunity for Johnson County to stand up again and say we will take care of our youth,” Supervisor V Fixmer-Oraiz said. 

Youth crisis stabilization is nonnegotiable, Fixmer-Oraiz said. 

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About the Contributors
Roxy Ekberg
Roxy Ekberg, Politics Reporter
Roxy Ekberg is a first year at the University of Iowa. In the Honors Program, she is double majoring in journalism and political science with a minor in Spanish. Prior to her role as a politics reporter, she worked news reporter at the Daily Iowan and worked at her local newspaper The Wakefield Republican.
Sara Stumpff
Sara Stumpff, Photojournalist
Sara is a third year UI student who transfered from Kirkwood. She is a "non traditional" student who will hopefully obtain her BFA in Photography and BA in Spanish.