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Santa Barbara to Pay $78,000 More in Attorney’s Fees for District Elections Settlement

The City of Santa Barbara is paying another $78,088 in attorney’s fees for the district elections lawsuit settlement, which brings the total to $677,588.

Settlement agreement terms required the city to implement by-district council elections in November, adopt a map of district boundaries and pay attorney’s fees to the plaintiffs’ firm of Cappello & Noël.

City attorney Ariel Calonne reviewed the firm’s invoices for the pre-trial and settlement costs and approved the final amounts.

About $500,000 of the first payment came out of the city’s general fund reserves, but the second payment of $78,088 will be funded by the existing City Attorney’s Office budget, according to the city.

The attorney’s fees include a $950 hourly rate for lead attorney Barry Cappello, who said the charges include the period from early 2014 through February of this year, when the settlement agreement was made.

The second payment, on Tuesday’s City Council agenda to be approved, includes the post-settlement costs from the district mapping process and entering the final judgment in Santa Barbara County Superior Court.

These payments don’t include the city’s own attorney costs for this lawsuit.

City Council members brought on special counsel for this litigation, approving a contract in January for up to $400,000 with the firm of Nielsen Merksamer Parrinello Gross & Leoni.

Noozhawk news editor 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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