Pixel Tracker

Tuesday, February 19 , 2019, 8:06 pm | Fair 49º

Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank

State May Give County $56.3 Million for New Jail

Conditional grant comes at a steep price: Cash-strapped county must come up with $42 million on its own.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department on Friday announced that the county has been awarded a conditional state grant of $56.3 million to build a new jail — but the journey to relieve overcrowding at the current facility in Santa Barbara is far from over.

That’s because in order for the new jail to be built, the county must pony up about $30 million of its own dough in capital costs, plus $12 million more in annual operational expenses, said 1st District Supervisor Salud Carbajal, the board chairman.

These are lean times for the county government. Already this spring, the Board of Supervisors slashed $26 million worth of programs and services from the county’s $189 million general fund budget for the 2008-09 fiscal year.

“That doesn’t include the big whammy the state is going to give us as well,” Carbajal told Noozhawk on Friday, referring to the state budget, which the Lgislature must complete by June. “We are not in a good place, so coming up with the money for capital and for ongoing operations is not an easy endeavor in this current fiscal crisis.”

What’s more, he said, all of the money for the new jail — which would be located in Santa Maria — needs to come from the county’s depleted general fund. Already, nearly half of that money — $90 million — is dedicated to the Sheriff’s Department, Carbajal said.

Still, he added, “I remain cautiously optimistic.”

To be sure, the Sheriff’s Department fared admirably in a highly competitive process. Santa Barbara County, whose current jail is located at 4434 Calle Real, ranked fifth out of 14 large and medium applicant counties by the AB900 Construction Funding Grant Executive Steering Committee for Phase I funding.

A total of $650 million was awarded to large and medium counties, with a further $100 million awarded to small counties.

“I am extremely pleased that the state recognized our crucial need for a new jail and our continuing commitment to the successful re-entry of offenders,” Sheriff Bill Brown said in a statement. “We still have lots of work to do before the new jail is built, but this is a major step forward. I want to thank my staff and the other members of our multidisciplinary team for their outstanding work on developing Santa Barbara County’s proposal.”

Janet Wolf
Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf also praised the department in the news release.

“I am thrilled — though not surprised — that Santa Barbara’s well-thought out, comprehensive proposal was selected for full funding,” she said.

Carbajal said two major hurdles must be cleared to make the jail happen: coming to a favorable agreement with the state, and finding the funds.

“The voters twice have rejected taxing themselves,” he said. “I can’t buy a car before knowing we can make the payment.”

The AB900 grant funding process began in November. The proposal team included representatives of the Sheriff’s Department, county counsel, planning and development, general services, Treasurer’s office, CFO’s office, Auditor’s office, Assessor’s office and several expert consultants.

Click here for more information on AB900. Click here for more information on the county jail system.

Talk to Us!

Please take Noozhawk's audience survey to help us understand what you expect — and want — from us. It'll take you just a few minutes. Thank you!

Get Started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >