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Saturday, January 19 , 2019, 12:47 am | Fair 49º


Supervisors Name Former County Auditor-Controller Bob Geis to Isla Vista CSD Board

Board also updated the county’s festival ordinance to cover I.V.’s upcoming Deltopia, and picked a new health services provider for the jail

The Board of Supervisors appointed former county auditor-controller Bob Geis to the governing board for Isla Vista’s community services district. Click to view larger
The Board of Supervisors appointed former county auditor-controller Bob Geis to the governing board for Isla Vista’s community services district. (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

Even though Bob Geis was the only applicant for the county Board of Supervisors’ pick for a seat on Isla Vista’s new community services district board of directors, they were not disappointed with their appointment.

Geis, who was the county auditor-controller for 25 years until his retirement last year, will join five elected board members and one yet-to-be-appointed board member from UC Santa Barbara on the governing board of the CSD, which officially forms Wednesday.

“I’ve lived through 35 years of challenges in Isla Vista, and I think one of the challenges is it’s growing,” Geis told the supervisors at their Tuesday meeting. “It’s getting bigger, it’s getting busier.”

A core objective of the CSD, he added, is “to really grow the governance structure out there, and to bring together the county, the university, law enforcement.”

Geis, who ran unsuccessfully last year for a spot on the Goleta Water District board, began working for the county in 1979, and said he could be a bridge between his long-time employer and the UCSB and I.V. communities. He praised the “vision” and ingenuity of I.V. residents and his younger CSD colleagues.

“I couldn’t be more pleased,” Third District Supervisor Joan Hartmann told Geis. “You bring a love and affection for Isla Vista and for the students, and bring a wealth of knowledge.”

One of his goals, Geis said, is to revive and pass a utility user tax to fund the CSD’s operations. In November, the tax came just short of the two-thirds vote needed to win approval.

That tax would have applied to services that include electricity, gas, water and sewage/trash, and would have generated an estimated $512,000 a year.

Until then, Geis said, the district should leverage as best it can the resources and funds it receives from the county, UCSB and others, including $200,000 a year from the university.

I.V. has until Jan. 1, 2023, to pass the tax, or the CSD will be dissolved.

Although the CSD is not the same as incorporating, the governing board is authorized to provide and fund a variety of services that traditionally have been taken care of by the county.

Geis joins elected board members Spencer Brandt and Natalie Jordan, both UCSB students, software developer Jay Freeman, I.V. Recreation and Parks District director Ethan Bertrand and local pastor Jon-Stephen Hedges.

On Tuesday, the supervisors also approved changes to the dates that the county’s festival ordinance is in in effect so that it covers this year’s unsanctioned Deltopia event, where many students throw traditionally rowdy parties and congregate on Del Playa Drive.

The event typically falls on the Saturday following the first day of spring-quarter classes — April 8 this year.

The festival ordinance limits the times when noise and music can be audible from the street in unincorporated areas of the county, and is in effect from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. on the days Deltopia and the similarly-celebrated Halloween weekend typically land.

After the Sheriff’s Office reviewed several upcoming UCSB academic calendars, six April dates were proposed and added to the ordinance.

In the past couple years, Deltopia and Halloween events have been tamer affairs as students, UCSB and law enforcement collaborated on limiting out-of-town visitors, providing alternate entertainment and promoting peer-given warnings prior to citations.

Kelly Moore, the Sheriff Office’s commander of South County operations, said that while Deltopia 2014 saw crowds of 20,000 to 25,000 — and a violent riot — the 2016 event had attendance around 3,500 people.

Arrests and citations dropped by roughly three-quarters in that time, while law enforcement calls for service fell by nearly 50 percent, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

Spending on Deltopia enforcement efforts have been reduced significantly over that time, Moore said.

New medical care provider for Sheriff's Department and Probation Department facilities

The Board of Supervisors also voted to have California Forensic Medical Group take over mental health services at the County Jail and medical services at the jail and probation facilities, including juvenile facilities like the Los Prietos Boys Camp.

The contract with CFMG runs for five years starting April 1. The company, which serves 29 other counties in the state, is taking over from Corizon Health, whose contract ends in March.

Corizon’s last contract was for only 18 months after supervisors took company officials to task in 2015 over not meeting service-level goals and issues related to transparency and accreditation.

At that time, the board also approved a grievance coordinator and a contract monitor to make sure needs are being met.

Officials from the Sheriff's Department and Probation Department presented strict performance and reporting standards that they expect Corizon’s successor to meet.

Within a year, CFMG has to submit to the Sheriff’s Office a plan for how to receive accreditation from the National Commission on Correctional Health Care. Failure means a $100,000 penalty per sheriff's and probation facility that does not receive accreditation.

Penalties are also in store if CFMG fails to adequately maintain clinical staffing positions.

While the current fiscal year Corizon contract for both departments totaled $4.9 million, that of CFMG for next fiscal year will be $6.9 million, according to the departments.

Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf said that the extra costs are an appropriate investment given the expected improvements to services at the facilities and the moral need for improved services.

“Mental health services in the jail, medical services in the jail are of the utmost importance to us and to the community and to the inmates,” she said. “So we want to make sure those services are provided in the quickest and the most appropriate way possible.”

County Executive Officer Mona Miyasato told the board that the $2-million difference between the contracts will be a part of the county’s budget deficit. She said it would have to be made up through cuts either in the sheriff's or probation departments or other general-fund departments.

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman 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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