The Colusa County Board of Supervisors meeting on June 2 affirmed their commitment to build a new jail at the Colusa County Sheriff Office.
The board authorized spending $2.4 million for the county’s share of cost, which will come from next year’s unrestricted general fund revenue.
The state awarded, and has still committed, $20 million from SB 863 funding toward the project, but the cost of construction has increased since the new detention and treatment center was first proposed in 2016.
The share of cost for local taxpayers at that time was $297,000, officials said.
“Unfortunately, there is no additional funding available from the state to offset the increased costs, so they must be borne by the county,” said Colusa Administrative Officer Wendy Tyler.
The county expects to award a bid by April 2021, with construction completed by summer of 2023.
Lt. Miguel Villasenior said that while the state’s delay in signing off on the real estate due diligence was unfortunate, the Colusa County Sheriff’s Office is still eager and willing to move forward by doing everything the state requires.
Because construction costs have stabilized as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the $2.5 million share of cost for the new jail is about the same as it was last fall.
“Construction has slowed down a little bit so that has helped keep the numbers down,” Villasenior said.
Had the delay not occurred, the jail would likely have been completed and occupied by now, Colusa County Sheriff Joe Garofalo said.
Since 2007, the state has awarded more than $2 billion to build new detention facilities. The funding is considered a critical piece of California’s ambitious criminal justice reform (known as realignment), which was designed to reduce prison overcrowding by reclassifying certain crimes and diverting offenders to county jails.
Colusa County’s new jail is supposed to include an exercise yard, increased programming and classroom space, a modern medical office and examination room, dental treatment facility, new housing units that better separate male and female inmates, in addition to separate housing for more difficult or violent offenders.
The $2.5 million commitment will be allocated in the 2020-2021 budget, officials said. ■