The Sheriff’s Office has gone $6 million over budget with the use of overtime staffing as it struggles to fill the budgeted positions for law enforcement and custody deputies, the Santa Barbara County Executive Office told the Board of Supervisors last week.

Most of those costs will be offset by savings from unfilled staff positions, but about $1.5 million will still be over the department’s $178.6 million budget, according to the County Executive Office.

It is the only county department with a projected negative variance for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.

There are currently staff vacancies due to employees in training programs, 24 people on worker’s compensation leave, 26 custody deputy vacancies and 12 over-hire positions that the Sheriff’s Department can fill if it meets full staffing capacity for its other budgeted positions.

The department’s challenges recruiting and retaining staff mean it has not been able to reach full capacity and the over-hire funding has not been used as anticipated, according to the County Executive Office.

The Sheriff’s Office has spent $8.1 million on non-reimbursable overtime staffing through the third quarter, and that is expected to hit $10 million by the end of the fiscal year on June 30.

The Board of Supervisors filed the financial status report and directed staff to work with the Sheriff’s Office on budget policy and plans to address the long-term issue of overtime staffing costs.

Specifically, they directed staff to “develop and propose budget policy for consideration in December 2022 that addresses a long-term fiscal plan regarding overtime costs, overhire ability, and other cost issues for the Sheriff-Coroner Office while ensuring accountability.”

Scroll down to read the entire staff report for the third quarter financial update.

Cannabis Tax Revenues Still Lower Than Expected

Sales tax, transient occupancy tax and property transfer tax revenues are all higher than expected for the current fiscal year, but cannabis cultivation and retail taxes are projected to come in much lower than budget staff anticipated: about $10.8 million compared to $19 million.

Local operators pay taxes based on their gross receipts, and wholesale marijuana values have been lower in the past year, according to county staff.

No retail dispensaries have opened in the unincorporated areas yet, even though several local cities have had these shops for a few years.

Six dispensary locations have been given preliminary approval and are still working through the permit and licensing process with the county.

Scroll down to read the entire staff report for the third quarter financial update.

Fiscal Year 2021-22 Third Quarter Budget Status Report and Cannabis Taxation, Compliance and Enforcement Up…

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk Managing Editor

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at