Friday, November 27 , 2015, 12:31 am | A Few Clouds 43º

Supervisors OK $8 Million for North County Jail Project

Board approves contracts for initial design and management plans

By Gina Potthoff, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @ginapotthoff |

More than $8 million was committed to the design and management of the North County Jail project Tuesday, a clear signal that the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors will continue making the development a priority.

The supervisors voted 5-0 to approve spending about $8.2 million to move the project forward by hiring a project expert, architect and engineer, construction manager and contractor on payroll.

Some contract language was changed before the vote, as well as an addendum guaranteeing that the supervisors would see a cost-analysis for why a contractor on payroll was necessary for the $96 million project.

The 376-bed jail, which would be built on 50 acres outside Santa Maria on Black and Betteravia roads, could be completed as early as May 2018.

Most of the funding — $89 million — will come from the state, with the county footing the rest.

On Tuesday, the county supervisors hired Liebert & Associates Inc. as the project expert, to be paid no more than $426,385 over six years; Rosser International Inc. as architect and engineer, to be paid about $5.4 million over six years; and Kitchell/CEM, Inc. as construction manager, to be paid no more than $2.27 million over six years.

The board also approved a final environmental impact report for the project.

All officials — except Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf — expressed concern about providing benefits to a temporary contractor on payroll, who will be paid $133,575 over two years beginning later this month.

“I just hate paying somebody’s vacation and days off when that person isn’t even an employee,” Fifth District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino said. “I just really don’t like the practice.”

County CEO Chandra Wallar said the employee in question, who already works part time in the General Services Department, would be necessary because the high-risk nature of the jail project — one of the largest the county has ever seen.

Wallar reminded the supervisors that all contracts awarded would be within budget, and that the county has many other contractors on payroll.

Other topics of discussion included examining renewable energy sources for the facility, such as solar, and testing to determine whether the jail could use water from a well already on the property.

Most of the supervisors said they’d like stronger language to require construction contracts go to local residents to bring much-needed jobs to the North County, and Wolf noted it would’ve been better to have seen these million-dollar contracts before late last week.

Fourth District Supervisor Peter Adam took time to make sure fellow officials understood the reason for the project.

“We’re not building a new jail because we need a work project in the North County,” Adam said, adding a desire to stay within budget regardless. “We’re building a new jail because we have prisoners that we have had to release. We’re building something that’s safe for the prisoners and safe for the deputies. Local labor is important but we need to get this job done.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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» on 05.15.13 @ 01:09 PM

How about we do our job and round up all the illegals now, instead of filling the jails up with them and all their anchor baby gangsters.

Dems do everything backwards..

» on 05.15.13 @ 02:24 PM

Where is the $ coming from. I thought that the recently released budget shows a deficit after next year.

» on 05.15.13 @ 07:04 PM

It is a State Grant and cost nothing to build.

» on 05.15.13 @ 08:29 PM

OK. Now I understand.

If the money comes from “the state” it doesn’t cost anyone anything.

And it doesn’t cost anyone anything to operate it, staff it, maintain it, etc. over the years.

Maybe we could fund more things like that….......?

» on 05.15.13 @ 09:35 PM

The money comes from us taxpayers, it doesn’t stop there. Once housed us taxpayers pay for their stay. We can just buy one island on time and keep dumping them off over there. They can kill each other and we can save billions. Hell, we can even film it, sell the live feed and make millions. It’s a win win.

» on 05.17.13 @ 12:11 AM

We need a tea party to celebrate this. Property tax payments are
due Dec 10 - we can plan one before the election. We have a non-representative government that has ignored voters’ decision against building another jail, and we have a low crime rate - we have a corrupt DA, judges and law enforcement, and we need to reduce law enforcement costs so they’re in line with the rest off the state.

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