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St. James Plaindealer - St. James, MN
  • County will offer more Juvenile Community Service Opportunities

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  • During Tuesday’s Watonwan County Board of Commissioners meeting, the board allowed Corrections Agent Paul Harris to allocate $1,250-$1,500 of his budget the rest of this year to the Watonwan County Sheriff’s Office for juvenile community service work.
    The juvenile program came out of the court’s coordinating council suggestion to have community service options available, and it began roughly one year ago, Harris said. For roughly five hours on one Saturday per month, a sheriff’s deputy supervises a handful of youth; they primarily work in the highway department’s shop, but they’ve also done some park work.
    However, one Saturday isn’t enough time, he said. The court keeps recommending community service, and the general guideline to complete is 90 days, but there’s currently a waiting list with 303 hours outstanding.
    Harris estimated it will take $1,200-$1,500 for the rest of this year to pay the sheriff’s office to have them chaperone, and Harris will take the money from his budget. The money will pay overtime to a deputy or be given to some other supervisor.
    “I see no problem with it,” said Mark Rentz, chairman of the board.
    “If it’s court-ordered, it’s needed,” added Scott Sanders.
    For the rest of the county board recap, please see the May 22 print edition of the St. James Plaindealer. 

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