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Miller County Juvenile Detention Center gets temporary lease on life

Long term, officials are pursuing a solution involving financial support from the city of Texarkana, Ark.
“We are going one day to the next. We kind of budgeted for three months,” said John Wilson,...
“We are going one day to the next. We kind of budgeted for three months,” said John Wilson, administrator of the Miller County, Ark., Juvenile Detention Center.
Published: Mar. 14, 2022 at 4:10 PM CDT
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MILLER COUNTY, Ark. (KSLA) — Miller County Juvenile Detention Center, once on the verge of shutting down at the end of this month due to a lack of funding, now has a new lease on life.

“We are going one day to the next. We kind of budgeted for three months,” said John Wilson, the facility’s administrator.

The past couple of months have been tough on employees with the future of the center in question, he said.

“I have lost four real good employees. You can’t blame them. If they  find a better job, a stable job, they are taking it.”

County officials said when the juvenile detention center was built, there was an agreement with the city of Texarkana, Ark., to help fund the facility. As of now, the county is the only source providing financial support.

“And we have been funding that for the last 15-plus years,” Miller County Judge Cathy Harrison said.

Now the county will fund the JDC for another three months in hopes the city of Texarkana, Ark., will provide additional financial support, she said.

A budget to operate the facility runs around $1 million a year, Harrison said. “And that’s one reason we need the city’s help.”

According to the judge, county leaders are waiting to meet with city leaders to work out a solution to keep the JDC open long term.

“We want to stay open. We want to keep the JDC here. We just need some financial help,” Harrison said.

Wilson, the facility’s administrator, noted: “They need this place; it does a good job for what it does.”

Texarkana, Ark., City Manager Jay Ellington said they are in the process of developing an intergovernmental agreement with the county and should have it completed and ready for discussion within the next couple of weeks.

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