Contra Costa County’s leaders are worried that the prolonged state budget woes will further impact an already strained budget. Specifically, their fears of realignment without a clearly defined foundation have the county concerned it will be left to foot a rather hefty bill.

Among the services that could be sent to the county are responsibility for supervising parolees and jailing non-violent inmates. Each of those tasks has a cost associated with it, and the state is promising some money to help out. 

The question becomes, how much more efficient are local jails and criminal justice systems than the state? The state spends $49,000 to house a single inmate for a year. But the state is only giving the county $25,000. Costs for violating parolees could cost the county more than $1.3 million, and where that money would come from has yet to be determined.

From the Contra Costa Times:

The likelihood of broad, fundamental shifts of responsibilities to local governments coupled with partisan gridlock over the state budget and a state tax extension ballot measure is generating widespread uncertainty and concern among Contra Costa County government leaders.

“It seems the (state) is building a house with two-by-fours and, later, they will build the foundation,” said County Probation Officer Philip Kader at a board of supervisors meeting Tuesday. “No one knows how this is going to go.”

Kader, along with Sheriff David Livingston, District Attorney Mark Peterson, Employment and Human Services Director Joe Valentine and Health Services Director William Walker, delivered to the board of supervisors Tuesday a staggering list of financial hits to services based on what legislators have done or could do.

On a strict party vote, state lawmakers have approved some budget cuts but deadlocked over some of the budget’s most controversial components, such as a June ballot measure that would extend existing sales and vehicle license fees five years.

Read the full article here.