Thursday, June 21 , 2018, 5:51 pm | Fair 66º


Local News

County Supervisors to Consider Price Increases for Jail Food, Improvements to Hollister Avenue

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will be tackling a packed agenda, and will be asked to increase the amount for a jail food contract and hear an update on one of the region's most important homeless shelters as part of the schedule.

The Santa Barbara County Jail provides approximately 3,300 meals to inmates on a daily basis and more than 1.2 million meals annually.

The jail's meal program came under fire earlier this summer when inmates complained that the servings were too small and contained too much soy.

The Sheriff's Department has stated that the meals provided are up to state standards, and hired a private company in 2012 to provide the meals.

The Sheriff's Department now has a seven-year contract with Aramark Correctional Services to provide these meals, and part of the contract provides for an annual increase in the cost of meals served by Aramark by the Consumer Price Index.

Under the changes, the meals served to inmates will cost 90 cents each, with kosher meals each costing $3.06. Staff meals will cost $3.07, under the new changes.

The board is being asked by the Sheriff's Department to improve the increase by 2.34 percent.

Another item is slated to come before supervisors on their departmental agenda and deals with a homeless shelter that is scaling back programs because of budget concerns.

Last month, Casa Esperanza announced it would be eliminating its homeless day center operations as well the Community Kitchen Lunch Program because of funding shortages.

Shelter officials said they needed to do this to focus on their 24-hour residential shelter program. Supervisors will be getting an update on these changes on Tuesday.

The elimination of these programs will have impacts on funding and services administered by the county through several departments, staff reports say.

For example, case management from the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Services portion of the county took place at the shelter during 20 hours a week, but the county is evaluating whether those services could be better served at other locations because of the closure of the day center.

Because the loan agreement on the property also states that it is to be used for a homeless day center as well as a shelter, the county supervisors will be asked to amend the agreement to include only the shelter.

The county supervisors will also be looking at a project report for improvements that could move forward on the two-mile stretch of Hollister Avenue and State Street between San Antonio Road and Highway 154.

Widening that stretch to four lanes and adding signals or roundabouts at Nogal and Modoc are one option.

Another involves widening the stretch between San Antonio and Modoc to four lanes, while widening from Modoc to Highway 154 to two lanes. This alternative would also include signalized intersections or roundabouts at Nogal and Modoc.

Supervisors could also chose to do nothing in the area, the staff report states.

Tuesday's meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. in the board hearing room on the fourth floor of the County Administration Building, 105 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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