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Grand Jury on Northern Branch Jail Operating Cost
updated: Jun 10, 2014, 9:36 AM

Source: Santa Barbara County Grand Jury

In the event county tax revenues fall short of expectations, the Santa Barbara County Grand Jury recommends the county "revisit options" for funding the operating cost of the Northern Branch Jail. The jail is scheduled for completion in 2018. The county estimates the operating cost of the new jail at $20 million for the first year.

According to the report, there is significant risk of a shortfall in property tax revenue growth, which is the primary source of funds to pay for future jail operations. The county projects an average 3.5 per cent annual growth in property taxes through the 2017-18 fiscal year. The report notes that in four of the last five years property tax increases have averaged less than one percent. Therefore, "given the risks of revenue shortfall… the Board of Supervisors must prepare alternative plans to fund the Northern Branch Jail operating cost."

The report recommends that the Board of Supervisors provide an annual update on the jail funding plan "concerning staffing and service cuts, revenue enhancements, or other options that may be necessary to fund NBJ operating cost." The report, "Northern Branch Jail Operating Cost: When They Build It You Will Pay," is available on the Grand Jury website at www.sbcgj.org.

The Santa Barbara County Grand Jury is a basic part of California government within the judicial branch. The Grand Jury is charged with keeping watch over county government as well as cities and districts operating within the county.


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