Capital District Juvenile Secure Detention Facility
Project Background & Highlights
A County Government Service Requiring a Regional Solution:
- Juvenile secure detention services are mandated by State and Federal laws.
- State regulations require a minimum of 13 beds for a juvenile secure detention facility, making such a facility prohibitively expensive for any individual county in the Region.
- Rigid State requirements for design and staffing make it very expensive to build and to operate juvenile secure detention facilities, and such facilities are not popular projects for the appropriation of county funds.
- Proposals for a local facility have been discussed since the early 1970’s, but without success until now. A feasibility study for the current facility was initiated by the Capital District Regional Planning Commission in 1992 in response to the expressed wishes of the constituent counties.
- Lengthy Consultation Process – Project implementation required coordinated support and consensus among the elected officials and agencies of the four counties under different governing systems.
- Difficult Planning Issues – A fair-share formula agreeable to all four counties was developed based on their various needs, benefits, and obligations. The determination of a host community and a suitable site required consideration of community wishes (NIMBY) and State regulations (Sight and Sound Separation Rule).
- State Legal and Regulatory Issues – Existing laws and regulations regarding ownership, operation, and reimbursement made a Regional cooperative venture difficult to structure, as did the requirement for a legal structure which would be acceptable to the financial markets for the sale and repayment of bonds.
- Financial Issues – Financial institutions were reluctant to participate in a multi-county project because of past failed regional projects in other parts of the State, and difficulties in receiving bond ratings and insurance caused higher financial service costs.
- The Capital District Youth Center, Inc. was created jointly by the four counties as a not-for-profit public corporation to perform a municipal service pursuant to Internal Revenue Service Ruling 63-20, with the authority to issue tax exempt bonds.
- The detention center project is 100% self-financing – no start-up funding or equity has been required from any of the four counties for facility construction and operation.
- The project is structured to guarantee priority of bed space by the four participating counties.
- All construction jobs were competitively bid and will pay the prevailing wage rates.
- All four counties are independent and equal partners in terms of decisions regarding the facility’s construction, operation, and financing.
- The four-county inter-municipal cooperation agreement represents the first such agreement since the Capital District Regional Planning Commission was created 30 years ago pursuant to a four-county voluntary agreement.
- The Capital District Juvenile Secure Detention Facility is the first such multi-county facility in New York State, and only the second in the nation.
- The project will save taxpayer dollars by providing the lowest net cost to the four counties relative to their use of other State facilities.
- The facility will have competitive per diem rates despite additional financial debt service charges which amount to 20% of the total cost. The State’s other facilities have no debt service charges in their per diem rates because they are all old enough to have repaid their initial capital costs.
- The facility is state-of-the-art, with a creative design and floor plan which allowed expansion to 24 beds (lowering the per diem cost by about 9%).
- To achieve efficient management, the facility is operated by a not-for-profit organization with extensive experience and an excellent reputation in the field.
- Convenient access for family members, guardians, legal counsel, and social workers to the juvenile detainees will improve their level of service and care.
Important Contributing Factors for Project Success:
- A Regional project which serves the needs of the participating counties.
- Enthusiastic support from county leaders and family court judges.
- Mutual trust among the county representatives, who have had experience in working together on other Regional cooperative activities as members of CDRPC.
- Involvement of county officials in every major step of the project planning process.
- Early support by the Region’s State legislators, who successfully secured $2.0 million in State funds to offset a portion of the construction costs.
- Willingness of Albany County to provide county-owned land for the facility’s site at no cost, thus avoiding the problems associated with NIMBY and the local zoning review process, which would have significantly delayed the project.
- Sound advice and perseverance from legal and financial professionals willing to take on such a unique and complex project.
- Extension of a Letter of Credit for the project by KeyBank, without which the revenue bonds would have had to be sold in the absence of bond ratings and insurance, resulting in higher project costs.
4.16 acres off Albany-Shaker Road, Town of Colonie
Number of Beds
24 beds (16 Beds currently used)
30,000 square feet
Clough, Harbour & Associates
Mr. Anthony Ward of Conboy & Mannion
Bast Hatfield – General Construction
Tougher Industries – Heating, Ventilating, & Air Conditioning
Mazone Plumbing & Heating – Plumbing
A.E. Rosen Electrical – Electrical
March 1997 to September 1997
Original 16 bed Facility Opened in December 1997
Additional 8 bed Module Opened in March 2000