Council to Vote on Transfer of Detention Center to YSS

Wheeling City Council will decide today whether to give up ownership of the Northern Regional Juvenile Detention Center so its operator, Youth Services System Inc., can seek a loan for badly needed roof repairs.

A vote on an agreement to transfer the 1000 Chapline St. building to YSS through the city’s development arm, the Ohio Valley Area Development Corp., will be on council’s agenda for a noon meeting in the first-floor council chamber at the City-County Building, 1500 Chapline St. That meeting will take place following an 11 a.m. work session for discussion of Wheeling’s proposed $30.64 million budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

According to YSS Executive Director John Moses, the building’s leaky roof is about 30 years old and last was fixed about 15 years ago.

However, the estimated $200,000 repair cost represents 20 percent of the $1 million YSS spends to run the 19-bed facility each year, and is more than the organization can afford without a loan.

YSS already holds sole responsibility for maintaining the property. But with the building deeded to the city, banks are reluctant to loan money for repairs, Moses said.

The transfer involves the building only, because the deed to the property includes a reversion clause that would give the property to descendants of Fort Henry founder Ebenezer Zane, whose family granted the property to Wheeling many years ago, if the city ever surrenders it.

Likewise, the city’s agreement with YSS for the building includes a reversion clause should the organization ever give up the structure.

YSS operates the center for the West Virginia Division of Juvenile Services on a contract basis. It is the only one of West Virginia’s 12 juvenile detention and treatment facilities to be operated in such a manner.

The only other item before council for a vote today is the $22,685 purchase of a pump for the water treatment plant from BissNuss Inc. of Pittsburgh, which is the city’s sole source provider for the equipment.