Juvenile justice center funding made permanent

OKLAHOMA CITY – A lawsuit that defines how the county funds its juvenile justice center has been settled.

Oklahoma County District Judge Roger Stuart made permanent Wednesday afternoon a temporary order saying the county can use funds from a 1996 sales tax to fund the operations of the Gary E. Miller Canadian County Juvenile Justice Center.

Stuart’s order came during a status conference at the Oklahoma County Courthouse. Attorneys for both sides had requested that the temporary injunctions be made permanent.

The Canadian County commissioners were sued in December 2014 by members of the county’s Citizen’s Advisory Board, two former county commissioners and then-sheriff Randall Edwards after the commissioners stopped using a 1996 sales tax to fund programs at the county’s Juvenile Justice Center.

The commissioners claimed they were following an attorney general’s opinion that said the money from the sales tax initiative was limited to the construction, equipping and maintenance of the facility, located east of El Reno.

The case was moved to Oklahoma County after all three county judges recused themselves from the case. In addition, the commissioners were represented by the Cleveland County District Attorney’s Office after Canadian County assistant district attorneys stepped aside as well because of a conflict of interest.

The plaintiffs in the case had argued that funding from the tax should be used not only to build the structure, but could also be used to pay for its operations, including payroll and other programs.

Stuart had ordered the temporary injunction allowing the county to use the sales tax for operations. The injunction was upheld by the state supreme court.

Wednesday, officials on both sides said they had nothing more to offer and asked that the injunction be made permanent. Stuart agreed.

See more on the story in Saturday’s Yukon Review.

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