Hike funding

Supervisors face funding decision on $38 million in federal COVID-19 relief and maintenance projects | Local News

the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors discussed how to spend the last $38 million of its federal COVID-19 relief funds during Thursday’s budget workshop, where the County Executive Office recommended that a large portion be devoted to the public safety radio network replacement project.

The current 9-1-1 emergency calling and interagency communications system is no longer supported for parts or upgrades, and a full replacement will cost about $30 million, according to the executive office of the county. the $17.6 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act would be added to the $12 million in debt service to pay for the project.

The Board of Overseers this week reviewed budget submissions from county departments for its $1.4 billion 2022-23 budget, and on Thursday specifically talked about how to spend the rest of its American Rescue money. Plan Act.

They are expected to make final decisions and adopt a budget in June.

Santa Barbara County received $86.7 million in ARPA funding from the federal government and has already spent most of it on costs related to the COVID-19 response, capital improvement projects, and utility services. health and social.

Staff are proposing to use more for the radio network project, health and social services funding, and some one-time maintenance or capital projects, including HVAC upgrades.

County Chief Executive Mona Miyasato has continually warned against using one-time funding for ongoing costs, but supervisors appear to be considering doing so for the next fiscal year as they consider the millions of dollars in available ARPA funding and the lack of unallocated and ongoing general funds. finance money.

Specifically, supervisors are interested in funding more employee positions for the District Attorney and public defender offices to work through the backlog of court cases due to COVID-19 related closures.

This would create a funding cliff in a few years, Miyasato said, because the money for these additional positions was not included in the five-year financial forecast.

Click here to read an overview of next year’s budget and the Behavioral Wellness Department plans.

Click here to learn more about the increased custody costs of the Sheriff’s Office with the opening of the North Branch Jail.

Maintenance funding

In 2014, supervisors approved a maintenance funding policy to dedicate 18% of unallocated revenue to maintenance work due to the daunting amount of unfunded deferred maintenance in the county.

The backlog is in the hundreds of millions of dollars, but it’s growing more slowly now, several years after this funding policy began, according to county budget staff.

A measure passed to require the county to keep its infrastructure in the same or better condition, to prevent the deferred maintenance backlog from getting worse, narrowly failed in 2014. Then this policy was passed by supervisors.

The 18% maintenance funding policy contributes $11.8 million to the county’s overall maintenance budget of $24.8 million for 2022-23.

Maintenance money is shared between Public works (roads), General services (facilities) and parks.

To keep county roads maintained at a pavement condition index of 58 (fair) would cost about $14.4 million a year, according to Public Works. Next year, the county has budgeted $11.3 million, for a deferred maintenance addition of $3.1 million.

It costs $20,000 to $100,000 per mile of track to do preventative maintenance, which usually involves a thin layer on the surface and takes less preparation time, according to Public Works staff.

On the other hand, it costs between $250,000 and $300,000 per mile of track to perform rehabilitation maintenance, which is much more time consuming and requires “correcting faults” and repaving.

The ministry has tried to stretch its dollars by seeking grants and partnerships for projects including paving and replacing the Obern cycle and pedestrian path lights; paving 2 miles of road in Montecito with the Bucket Brigade; and the addition of pedestrian sidewalks in parts of Isla Vista through a funding partnership with UC Santa Barbara.

“Maintenance isn’t sexy,” but by investing more money, the county is now able to maintain its assets, said Fourth District Supervisor Bob Nelson. “As we saw with the PCI (pavement condition index), as it starts to rise, the real cost of maintaining it starts to fall.”

Nelson worked as chief of staff for his predecessor on the board, Peter Adam, who advocated for county maintenance funding and the failed infrastructure funding ballot measure.

— Noozhawk editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Login with Noozhawk on Facebook.