Privatizing the food-service operation at the Allen County Juvenile Justice Center is expected to save taxpayers at least $50,000 per year, officials say.
Judge Dan Heath of the Family Relations division of the Allen Superior recently signed a contract with A'viands, LLC after Roy Buskirk and other County Council members suggested privatization could be more efficient.
“We have reviewed the matter very carefully and have, indeed, found that we can save money for our taxpayers while preserving quality meals for the juveniles detained here,” Heath said in a statement. “This does not include the fact that our county will no longer be on the hook for taxpayer-funded pensions. In addition, we asked A'viands to consider hiring our food service employees and they have done so in a majority of cases.”
Although Buskirk had hoped to save even more, “$50,000 is $50,000. This is one situation where it took a lot of encouragement to save taxpayers money,” he said. Buskirk said he had suggested privatization for years, but the proposal moved forward only after Heath succeeded longtime Judge Steve Sims at the juvenile center earlier this year.
Minnesota-based A'viands was selected after the court sought proposals from food-service providers. Four companies responded.
The Juvenile Center on Wells Street detains an average of 90-95 juveniles per day, serving three meals per day. State and Federal regulations heavily regulate the number of calories per meal and the quality of meals served. The contract is for one year, and negotiations for per-meal pricing for 2015 will begin in May 2014.