With government money problems in a chronic stage, judicial officials in California will look for ways to make significant cost reductions in court facilities projects. They will move to eliminate new court buildings for Alpine and Sierra counties. Inyo County’s new $30 million court building project in Bishop will undergo review for cost cuts too.
In a press release from the Judicial Council of California, officials state that in light of the unprecedented fiscal challenges for the state and judicial branch, there is a need to close a significant budget gap in the courthouse construction program for this fiscal year.
The Chief Justice appointed a 25-member working group after more than $500 million in facility funding was diverted to the general fund, borrowed or redirected for court operations this year. The working group has stated that considering the urgency of infrastructure needs statewide and the strict limit on funds, the judicial council can not accommodate the current $50 million expense for building projects.
Those projects in early phases will be pared down by the number of courtrooms, square footage and other means. The working group will also ask the legislature to restore funds for courthouse maintenance and modifications. In some cases, these tasks will go to the local courts.
When asked specifically about plans for Inyo County’s new court building in Bishop, Teresa Ruano of the Administrative Office of the Courts said that all projects, including Inyo, will be reviewed by a subcommittee of the working group for potential cost reductions. Ruano said it is unknown how long that will take or when their recommendations will be available. Meanwhile, the site selection process for Inyo’s project will proceed this fiscal year. Ruano said no delays or hold ups are being recommended on Inyo’s project at this time.