Harrison County

Harrison County Youth Court closer to moving out of 'trailer park' to downtown Biloxi

JUSTIN MITCHELL/SUN HERALDHarrison County Attorney Tim Holleman at Board of Supervisors meeting on Monday, Feb. 8, 2016.
JUSTIN MITCHELL/SUN HERALDHarrison County Attorney Tim Holleman at Board of Supervisors meeting on Monday, Feb. 8, 2016.

BILOXI -- Harrison County Youth Court is one step closer to being out of the "trailer park" in Gulfport and into a real building in Biloxi -- and the move will potentially save hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Youth Court Judge Margaret Alfonso told the Harrison County Board of Superviors last Monday that moving youth court from its current location in Gulfport to an area adjacent to or near the juvenile detention center in Biloxi would save money and be convenient.

On Monday, she went before the board again -- this time, with a space.

Alfonso proposed the court's new home be inside the Harrison County Health Department on Esters Boulevard. The building is adjacent to the juvenile detention center, county attorney Tim Holleman said.

Moving the court near the detention center will save hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, Holleman and Alfonso said. With the agencies being near each other, the county will save tons in transportation costs.

"They've got to have male guards for the males and female guards for the females," Holleman said. "They have to stay in court all day long, waiting on kids in court. That takes up to four employees plus a van they won't need (to use) if the court is right next door."

Alfonso said she wants the agencies in the same place ultimately -- no matter where the venue is -- but she thinks the health department space could be a long-term solution.

"We feel like we can make it work," she said. "I feel like we're making tremendous progress for the kids."

Alfonso said a building with room for eight offices would have to be built on county-owned property near the health department to house other employees.

"Thirty-eight employees have to come, including junior probation officers," she said. CASA workers, drug court employees, mental health administrators and juvenile drug court employees are included in the transition.

District 5 Supervisor Connie Rockco thinks the Alfonso's plan is well thought out.

"With your guidance and leadership, it will be better for the children," Rockco told Alfonso.

The Board of Supervisors also on Monday approved a contract renewal with Mississippi Security Police, and Holleman said the new provisions will save the county about $204,117 annually.