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October 29, 2012

Sedgwick County lobbies for more money for Judge Riddel Boys Ranch

The push to keep the Judge Riddel Boys Ranch open continued Monday when Sedgwick County officials met with state leaders about additional money for the program that serves juvenile offenders.

The push to keep the Judge Riddel Boys Ranch open continued Monday when Sedgwick County officials met with state leaders about additional money for the program that serves juvenile offenders.

County Manager William Buchanan, director of government relations Marv Duncan and corrections director Mark Masterson met with acting Juvenile Justice Authority commissioner Terri Williams as well as the secretaries of the Department for Aging and Disability Services and the Department for Families and Children.

The contingency later met with the governor’s chief of staff.

“We’ve had two meetings regarding this subject. Both have been helpful and productive,” Buchanan said Monday afternoon.

No one from the state promised additional funding for the ranch, “but we did not expect commitments today,” Buchanan said.

Buchanan earlier this year recommended closing the ranch to reduce the county’s deficit.

County commissioners voted in August to keep the ranch open another year so the county could work with legislators to get more money for the juvenile residential facility.

The ranch had cost the county about $1.5 million a year to operate. The state gave the county $126 per day per boy, but the actual cost was $204.

To keep the ranch open, the county reduced the bed capacity for the youth residential facility from 49 beds to 42, cut staff and moved to 12-hour shifts instead of eight hours.

The county also ditched a plan for a youth day reporting program and decreased a raise pool from 3 to 2.5 percent.

Buchanan said he will talk about the meeting with commissioners and staff Tuesday.

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