Quirks of the County Blog

Tuesday, Feb 04 2014 08:50 AM

Budget troubles and Jail cost confront Supervisors today

By The Bakersfield Californian

It's a money day at the Kern County Board of Supervisors.

Chatter in the morning session will center around two big-dollar county issues -- the mid-year budget review and the future cost to run the expansion of Lerdo Jail.

The budget is, at best, a challenge for county money crunchers.

So far this year the county has burned through $7.9 million in reserves keeping operations afloat.

And county budget guru Nancy Lawson expects that the county's rainy day funds will have to cover more shortfalls in revenue from Kern Medical Center, the Sheriff's Department and Animal Control before the year is done.

And speaking of the Sheriff's Department - it's due to deliver an update on the financial obligations the county faces as it uses $100 million in state money to build 822 new medium, maximum and special use jail beds at Lerdo Jail.

The jail construction is far from a free ride for the county which will be obligated to spend around $36 million in upfront construction costs and at least $27 million a year in staffing costs for the Sheriff's Department alone.

Should be an interesting discussion.

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