With a dwindling budget and less state funding, local governments are looking to generate revenue in an attempt to save programs already in place.

The Ventura County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution on Tuesday that will require convicted drug offenders to pay for their own court-ordered drug treatment option.

Established in 2000, the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act, or Proposition 36, requires the county to provide a six-month drug treatment option, offered in lieu of prison to qualifying drug offenders.

Offenders are required to participate in individual and group rehabilitation counseling sessions.

Due to cuts in state funding, the county has determined it necessary to pursue new user fees to offset the costs of this program.

Supervisor Linda Parks claimed the county has been funding this program by pulling from the general fund.

“My personal perspective is that those who can pay for the program should,” Parks said.

According to the staff report, this program is accustomed to receiving $1.2 million from the state. 

With the passing of this resolution, the Ventura Health Care Agency is projecting to generate $531,250 in new user fees in the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

The county approved a $900 first-time offender program enrollment fee and $954 for multiple-time offender enrollment.

Parks said an important detail of the program will to be to continue rigorous drug testing. Users will pay for their drug tests at five dollars each.

Although the country is striving for full cost recovery from each participant, the VHCA does not believe that is realistic.

With the understanding that not all participants in the program are able to cover all costs, the board will reconvene on this issue in four months to re-examine full cost recovery options.

Louis Dettorre can be reached at ldettorre@publicceo.com