Santa Barbara Jail Facts
What Will a New Jail Cost
To Build and Operate?
Construction Costs: These will not be known until the project is completed. As noted on the webpage about Rosser International, Rosser has run into trouble in the past through faulty engineering plans that resulted in hundreds of change orders, millions in cost overruns, and long delays in completion. Of course, this is perhaps an exceptional case, but as is well known, many construction jobs do end up costing far more than originally estimated. This represents a large potential liability for the County as the state share is capped.
We should also have some information as to whether the initial construction costs are accurate when bids go out later this year (assuming the project is not abandoned prior to then). The link below is to a report summarizing some of the potential issues and also discusses the "lease revenue bonds" issued by the state to pay for the project. Click here to read the report on construction costs
Operating Costs: The operating costs have been a much more contentious issue. The report on operating costs contains a detailed analysis that concludes that focus on the operating costs of the new 376-bed jail in isolation is a misleading diversion, and that operating costs can only be usefully assessed when estimated for the entire jail system, including the parts of the existing jail which will continue to be used.
However, an examination of the details of the operating costs for the new 376-bed reveals an apparent gross underestimation of average employee cost, and a significant underestimation of the portion of the total operating budget devoted to services and supply and maintenance.
Most serious is the unwarranted use of just 3% per annum as the rate of cost increases, a number with no historical backing and much lower than the 5% overall annual cost increase of custodial operations or the 5.6% annual increase in per employee cost.
This is a very important report. For full details, click here.