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Local News

County Redirecting Fines from Banned Tobacco, Alcohol Use to Parks Department

The money from tickets issued by rangers had gone to Superior Court but now will help pay for enforcement

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to allow the Parks Department to collect fines for banned tobacco and alcohol use in county parks, beaches and open spaces.

Park rangers have already been writing tickets for such offenses, but the money has been going to Santa Barbara County Superior Court, not the department that pays for enforcement, according to Brian Roney, interim director of county parks.

“I think this is a really good thing,” Supervisor Janet Wolf said. “It’s cleaning up what needs to be done.”

Roney said extra funding provided by the fines allows for additional enforcement. Uniformed vehicle use, gas and paid staff hours spent on ticketing comes out of the County Parks budgets. The department will also hire part-time staff primarily on weekends and holidays to write tickets.

Dr. Robert Johns, a vocal opponent, called the idea of hiring more staff after budget negotiations had ended “stupid” and “supercilious.”

“Are you kidding me?” Johns said. “This has got to be a joke here.”

Supervisor Salud Carbajal also made sure to confirm with Roney that this would result in a crackdown on drinking alcohol at Butterfly Beach.

Noozhawk intern Daniel Langhorne can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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