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Douglas County approves capital projects

The Douglas County Board approved more than $800,000 in capital improvements for this year.

Among the projects approved are culvert replacements on County Highway T, repairs to the amphitheater at Lucius Woods Park and forest road resurfacing. The plan includes purchasing equipment for the highway and forestry departments, and building improvements in the courthouse, Government Center and highway department.  

The county will repurpose the former veterans’ service office in the courthouse to serve as a jury room and make improvements in the jail.

Supervisor Keith Allen questioned why plans for the jail were never brought to the committee with oversight for public safety.

“They should, and have been in the past, and I don’t understand why we knew a couple months ago this was going to be done,” Allen said. He said that in the future he would like to see projects proposed to follow the proper procedure, which includes approvals by the oversight committee and the county’s Administration Committee before being presented to the board.

The Administration Committee recommended the projects approved Thursday night.

“If we don’t want to follow procedure, we can just hand it to the Administration Committee and they can decide it there,” Allen said.

Nick Baker, chairman of the Public Safety Committee, said he was never advised of the project proposals.

Douglas County Board Chairman Doug Finn said the county will have to review its process to make sure the county is following proper procedure.

“Our whole system here runs on the knowledge of the committees,” said Supervisor Sue Hendrickson. “If you’re not on a committee, you don’t always know all the ins and outs, and it’s important for those committee members to know about those things that come forward in their committee knowledge area.”

The projects passed with a 17-1 vote. Allen voted against the project proposal.