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Financially Squeezed Santa Barbara County Looking At Costs Of Running New Jail Under Construction

Posted on Monday, April 14, 2014 12:51pm

Santa Barbara County is finally addressing its decades old jail overcrowding issue with construction of a North County Jail, but how to staff it is another problem.

State grants are paying for 90% of the $90 million dollar plus project, but the financially squeezed county has been struggling with how to pay for what was initially estimated to be more than $17 million dollars more a year to staff, and run it.

Now, the County Sheriff’s department has developed a preliminary staffing plan which shows operating costs might be lower than first predicted.

A report being presented to County Supervisors tomorrow calls for hiring 100 people, and shifting 24 existing employees, with an additional cost of about $15.8 million dollars.

But, there’s catch.

The County received world than it will get another $38 million dollar state grant for an addition to the new jail, taking it from 376 to around 600 beds.

Because that state grant hasn’t been finalized, the new report doesn’t address costs of staffing the addition.

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