Friday, May 25 , 2018, 12:50 pm | Fair 65º


Local News

Santa Barbara County’s Deferred Maintenance Backlog Totals $84 Million, Report Confirms

Presentation to the Board of Supervisors about needed work on buildings, parks and roads shifts into an all-out Measure M debate

The long-awaited facilities assessment for Santa Barbara County confirmed the backlog of deferred maintenance projects for buildings and parks.

This 3,500-page consultant report is the first step toward a maintenance and project funding plan, and the Board of Supervisors voted to bring back a priority list and funding options at a future meeting.

Overall, the county has a fair Facilities Condition Index, but community services and parks facilities have a much lower rating. There is an estimated total of $83.6 million in deferred maintenance projects at county facilities and parks, said Dennis Bozanich, assistant to the county executive officer. 

The consultant, Roy Jorgensen Associates, suggests that the county fund 2 percent to 4 percent of each facility’s current replacement value, per year, for maintenance.

Getting to the lowest level would take another $9 million per year for roads and $8 million for parks and general services facilities, Bozanich said. At the high end, it would take $30 million more for parks and general services.

Even though Tuesday’s presentation was all about the numbers, the meeting quickly turned into an all-out Measure M debate.

First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal called out Fourth District Supervisor Peter Adam, who initiated the measure that would require maintenance funding to keep facilities, parks and roads in their current condition. It wouldn’t address the problem of deferred maintenance that already exists.

The range of costs varies widely from facility to facility. Lake Cachuma parks facilities and grounds have $22.23 million in deferred maintenance costs, including $12.7 million in pavement rehabilitation, according to the consultant report.

Carbajal kept saying that Adam has “no plan” for funding that and it would “decimate” other county services. He wants to earmark 10 percent to 25 percent of unallocated general fund growth toward deferred maintenance and asked county staff to come back with a potential plan.

Adam said the county’s pavement condition has been declining since 2003 and that it’s “convenient” that Carbajal came up with a plan two weeks before an election. His staff calculated that the deferred maintenance would increase by $80 million with the 15 percent plan, he said.

“It would not catch up with it at all,” Adam said.

Fifth District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino said it was impossible to tackle the $84 million problem in a year or two.

“We got into this thing because it’s been ignored over decades and it’s going to take us a couple years to get out of it," he said, "but I think if we make a commitment and we start moving in the right direction without obliterating a bunch of other programs that are critical, I think we can come up with a number that works.”

To read the Facility Condition Assessment reports, separated by facility, click here.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli 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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