2017 - 2018
Shasta County Grand Jury
Follow the Money
Responses to the 2016-2017 Shasta County Grand Jury Reports
Are They Compliant?
The power of the grand jury lies in its ability to publish fact-based reports that inform and educate both citizens and local government officials. Although the jury has no authority to enforce the recommendations included in such reports, it can determine whether local government agencies and officials have provided reasonable responses. These responses must follow a format and timeline clearly specified by law. The independent work and voice of grand juries is strengthened when local government entities and officials are held accountable and responsible to the will of their constituents.
To that end, the 2017-2018 Shasta County Grand Jury carefully reviewed all responses to the 2016-2017 Shasta County Grand Jury Consolidated Final Report for compliance with the law. This report presents the analysis of that review. The 2017-2018 Shasta County Grand Jury deemed all responses compliant except for the City of Redding City Council’s initial response to the Unfunded Pension Liabilities report. The City of Redding City Council later provided compliant responses.
The 2017-2018 Grand Jury appreciates the time and attention that all responders devoted to the work of the 2016-2017 Grand Jury. Although invited responders were not required to respond, several did, and the Grand Jury thanks them for their willingness to provide additional feedback.
F1. All mandated responders submitted responses as requested, most within the timeframe specified in Penal Code § 933(c), which allots 90 days for governing bodies to respond and 60 days for elected officials.
F2. Although Redding City Council’s original responses to the Unfunded Pension Liabilities report were deemed noncompliant with Penal Code § 933(c) and § 933.05(b), it later submitted revised responses that were in compliance.
F3. Four of the 16 invited responders also submitted responses although they were not required to do so.
The Grand Jury commends:
C1. The City Managers of Anderson, Redding and Shasta Lake for their thoughtful and timely responses to the Unfunded Pension Liabilities report. All were invited responders and not required to submit responses.
C2. The Shasta Lake Fire Protection District Fire Chief for his thoughtful and timely responses to the Shasta Lake Fire Protection District report. He was an invited responder and not required to submit responses.
C3. The Cities of Anderson, Redding and Shasta Lake City Councils and the Shasta County Board of Supervisors for scheduling approval of their respective responses during a regular session portion of their meetings, allowing open discussion of those responses and public comment.
REQUEST FOR RESPONSES
Protecting Those Who Protect Us - Money Well Spent
Shasta County Law Enforcement Vehicle Recalls and Maintenance
Several news articles and televised news reports regarding safety recalls of the Patrol vehicle prompted the 2017-2018 Shasta County Grand Jury to open an investigation to determine how Shasta County agencies have responded to recent carbon monoxide recalls of law enforcement vehicles. The Shasta County Grand Jury reviewed vehicle records from the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office and the police departments of Redding and Anderson from 2011 through 2017. The Shasta County Grand Jury found that the patrol vehicles driven by officers in Shasta County are maintained using specific and comprehensive policies and procedures.
During the course of the investigation, the Shasta County Grand Jury broadened the focus to include vehicle maintenance policies, procedures and records of all Shasta County law enforcement agencies. The Shasta County Grand Jury found that none of the recalled vehicles experienced carbon monoxide leaks. Furthermore, each agency has comprehensive policies and procedures in place for vehicle repairs and maintenance.
F1. The Grand Jury found that law enforcement officers are driving vehicles with properly installed after-market equipment, resulting in no carbon monoxide leaks that may put officers and the general public at risk.
F2. The Grand Jury found that all three agencies follow carefully specified, detailed and comprehensive policies and procedures for vehicle maintenance and repairs which significantly increases the safety of law enforcement officers.
REQUEST FOR RESPONSES
City of Anderson 2014 Tax Measures A and B
A Promise Made, A Promise Kept
An investigation by the 2017-2018 Shasta County Grand Jury into the City of Anderson’s Measure A (a sales tax increase), and Measure B (a tax spending advisory), showed the City of Anderson’s City Council has fulfilled its promise to spend 50% of the tax revenues generated from Measure A on the Police Department. The Grand Jury decided to study this issue in order to hold government accountable and inform citizens whether their Measure B advisory vote was being followed.
The Grand Jury found the elected officials of the City of Anderson had honored the voters’ advisory measure by spending over 50% of sales tax dollars on the Police Department. They also designated additional tax monies to support parks, to increase the General Fund Reserves and to support other general City services. The Grand Jury commends the City of Anderson’s elected officials for keeping the promise they made to the voters.
This investigative report provides Shasta County citizens with information as to how the City officials have used the funds in a way that reflects accountability, transparency, and the promise made.
F1. The City of Anderson’s City Council has followed the intent of advisory Measure B by increasing funds to the APD, resulting in an increase in staffing, the implementation of programs to reduce crime and increase public safety.
F2. The City of Anderson’s City Council has followed the intent of advisory Measure B by allocating funds to support City parks, code enforcement, and restore General Fund Reserves and other general City services resulting in improved park facilities and greater fiscal security.
The Grand Jury commends the City of Anderson’s City Council for keeping the promise they made to the voters by fulfilling the intent of Advisory Measure B.
REQUEST FOR RESPONSES
Shasta County Jail: Funding and Capacity
A Public Safety Crisis Deepens
The Shasta County Board of Supervisors has recently sought to address the chronic shortage of Shasta County Jail beds. This shortage was significantly exacerbated when Assembly Bill 109 was passed in 2011 followed by Proposition 47 in 2014 and Proposition 57 in 2016. The 2017- 2018 Shasta County Grand Jury’s review of County documents and records revealed that the Shasta County Jail had a reduction in available inmate beds beginning in the early 1990s. The Shasta County Grand Jury discovered that the percentage of funds that Shasta County is contributing from the General Fund to its own Jail is at a ten-year low.
This is partly due to Assembly Bill 109 funds replacing historical funding sources for the Shasta County Jail. According to public meetings, these funds are being used to fund two out of three inmate detention levels at the Jail. The Shasta County Board of Supervisors has approved this funding for the Shasta County Jail from Assembly Bill 109 funds without increasing capacity above pre-Assembly Bill 109 levels. Interviewees and a review of documents indicate that County officials and administrators are unsure how current Jail operations will be funded over the next several fiscal years.
According to a May 7, 2018 update to the “Shasta County Jail Facilities Needs Assessment”, the need for inmate beds has risen over the last five years due to Assembly Bill 109 legislation. The report states that the Shasta County Jail is currently 135 beds below needed capacity. One result is that, in order to accommodate incoming offenders, an average of 30 currently housed inmates per day need to be released early.
The Shasta County Board of Supervisors and the Shasta County Sheriff have publicly stated the need for additional jail beds. The Shasta County Grand Jury recommends the Shasta County Board of Supervisors determine how many additional Jail beds are needed, both now and in the future, and identify operational Jail funding to match Jail capacity need.
The Shasta County Grand Jury recommends the Shasta County Board of Supervisors adopt a plan for both short-term and long-term Jail capacity needs and funding sources for the operational costs associated with any expansion.
F1. Shasta County Jail capacity began declining after Crystal Creek Work Camp closed in 1992, despite continued need for capacity. Assembly Bill 109, Proposition 47 and inadequate increases in Shasta County revenues have only exacerbated a long-term capacity deficit at the Shasta County Jail.
F2. Compared to five similarly-sized counties in California, Shasta County’s ratio of jail beds to population is the lowest, indicating the need for additional Shasta County Jail bed capacity.
F3. A comparison of Shasta County’s Jail capacity prior to Assembly Bill 109 and current Jail capacity shows that Shasta County has fewer jail beds but a higher number of offenders’ This indicates the need for additional Jail beds.
F4. The percentage of the Shasta County Jail budget provided from the Shasta County General Fund has steadily declined over the last seven years while the Shasta County Jail’s operating costs have risen. This has resulted in increased reliance on unsustainable sources of funding.
F5. While revenue from Proposition 172 fluctuates, the amount allocated to the Shasta County Jail by the Shasta County Auditor-Controller has varied little over the last ten years, making this funding source relatively stable and predictable.
F6. AB 109 has provided funding to the Shasta County Jail since 2011, however this funding is not a stable or predictable source due to projected budgetary decreases of 25% in the next two years.
F7. Out-of-county beds increase Shasta County’s incarceration capacity and do so at a lower cost than adding jail beds to the Shasta County Jail. Because of restrictions, it is a limited option that cannot be relied upon for contributing significantly to Shasta County inmate capacity.
F8. The Shasta County Board of Supervisors has not publicly accepted assessment data that forecasts current and future capacity needs at the Jail. Without knowing that capacity, it is impossible for the Shasta County Board of Supervisors to accurately develop capital cost and operating budgets for jail expansions.
F9. The Shasta County Board of Supervisors has not developed a short or long-term plan to match Shasta County Jail capacity needs with identified operational funding sources, despite multiple assessments showing a critical jail bed shortage in Shasta County.
F10. In 2012 and 2017, California State funds were available for expansion of the Shasta County Jail but were rejected due to the Shasta County Board of Supervisor’s inability to fund operational costs of an expanded facility. This continues to leave Shasta County without adequate Jail capacity.
The Grand Jury Recommends:
R1. By September 30, 2018, the Shasta County Board of Supervisors, based on available or newly solicited information, agree on needed capacity at the Shasta County Jail both now and in five, 10, 15 and 20 years. These capacity needs should be reviewed and updated annually based on new legislation or other pertinent changes.
R2. By March 31, 2019, the Shasta County Board of Supervisors adopt a 10-year funding plan for Shasta County Jail capacity expansion including capital and operational costs. This plan should be reviewed annually at a public meeting.
R3. By March 31, 2019, the Shasta County Board of Supervisors identify on-going new sources of revenue to meet current and projected Jail capacity needs.
REQUEST FOR RESPONSES
Shasta County Board of Supervisors:
F1 through F10
R1 through R3
Green Rush...Up in Smoke?
Legal Cannabis in the City of Shasta Lake
In August 2017, the City of Shasta Lake became the first city in Shasta County to sanction the legal recreational cannabis industry to operate within the City limits. Measure A was put to the voters to allow the recreational cannabis-related industry to start effective January 1, 2018. The 2017-2018 Shasta County Grand Jury investigated the circumstances surrounding the planning, implementation and follow-up of Measure A. The Grand Jury sought to determine what planning took place prior to the vote, and what steps were taken following passage of the measure.
In its rush to become the first Shasta County city to permit recreational cannabis businesses, the City of Shasta Lake ineffectively planned for the increase of cannabis businesses in the City. This resulted in multiple unexpected changes in planning and permitting procedures based upon infrastructure demands, which was exacerbated when the City chose to zone the Shasta Gateway Industrial Park for cannabis-related businesses.
Additionally, all planned development should stop in the Shasta Gateway Industrial Park until the City of Shasta Lake adds a secondary access road to meet its legal and safety obligations. Further, the City of Shasta Lake should increase code enforcement staffing and create safe and effective methods of collecting and transporting the cash it collects.
The Shasta County Grand Jury recommends the City of Shasta Lake complete a secondary access road into the Shasta Gateway Industrial Park and immediately institute safeguards for the handling, accounting and transportation of cash.
The Shasta County Grand Jury focused on six key areas and how the City of Shasta Lake would handle:
Laws and regulations that should be passed to oversee the new businesses
The plans for law enforcement needs
The proposed collecting and safeguarding of cannabis-related tax monies
Preventing misuse of cash transaction funds by City officials and employees
Planned additional city services for the incoming businesses
The conflict between state and federal law relating to the cannabis industry.
F1. The City of Shasta Lake has not planned for an increase in law enforcement services that may be required because of an increase in cannabis-related businesses. Without such planning, law enforcement and the City of Shasta Lake will be reacting rather than being prepared as additional cannabis-related businesses become operational within the City limits.
F2. Since the passage of Proposition 64, code enforcement has been in a state of flux, leaving the citizens of the City of Shasta Lake with little recourse regarding cannabis complaints, except for civil litigation.
F3. The City of Shasta Lake is not following generally accepted cash management standards, such as those set forth by the California Auditors Association. Mismanagement of cash could lead to serious accounting errors or criminal activity.
F4. The City of Shasta Lake’s procedures for transporting cash deposits to the bank is unsafe and may place employees at risk.
F5. A secondary access road in the Shasta Gateway Industrial Park is required by the Uniform Fire Code, which the City of Shasta Lake has adopted. The City is out of compliance and has ignored the Fire Marshall’s mandate, resulting in possible hazardous conditions in case of an emergency.
F6. The Shasta Lake Fire Protection District and its predecessor (prior to 1992) have not done all they can within its legal purview to ensure that the secondary access road be built, resulting in possible hazardous conditions in case of an emergency
F7. The City of Shasta Lake’s on-line ethics training is insufficient to deal with possible ethics violations raised by the rapidly expanding cannabis industry. City employees do not have clear direction on how to deal with unethical or criminal situations.
F8. The City of Shasta Lake’s current infrastructure is not adequate to handle the sudden proposed build-out of the Shasta Gateway Industrial Park. Unless the City planners collect and evaluate accurate data, they may not be able to provide needed electricity, water, and/or sewer services to the City of Shasta Lake.
F9. There is currently one half-time position assigned to code enforcement. This is insufficient to handle cannabis-related code administration. Adequate training has not been provided regarding these codes. This may allow misinterpretation of City codes and ordinances, by cannabis businesses resulting in violations.
F10. The City has not planned for infrastructure needs and has been reacting to issues as they arise. The City did not research and gather the information needed to effectively plan for issuing permits for this new industry. This has resulted in confusion to permit applicants, resulting in delays in building.
F11. The cash received from cannabis-related businesses loses its identity when the City commingles it with the cash receipts from other sources such as utility payments. If the Federal Government asserts its authority regarding cannabis being federally illegal, the City of Shasta Lake could face severe financial consequences.
F12. The City of Shasta Lake’s cannabis business permits require a sampling station in all manufacturing and cultivation facilities for testing discharge to wastewater. There are no procedures in place to require the City to conduct frequent and random testing to ensure viability of the wastewater treatment system. Should a business release harmful substances into the system, the City would have difficulty locating the source of the release and hold those responsible accountable.
The Grand Jury Recommends:
R1. By September 30, 2018, the City of Shasta Lake City Council, Shasta County Sheriff’s Office and other stakeholders begin planning sessions to discuss future law enforcement needs of cannabis-related businesses within the City.
R2. By November 30, 2018, the City of Shasta Lake City Council determine how to address cannabis-related code enforcement. This should include written procedures delineating when a law enforcement presence is needed during a code enforcement response.
R3. By September 30, 2018, the City of Shasta Lake City Council direct the City Manager to write a policy that clearly details the handling of cash payments. The policy should be presented to the City Council in a public forum by November 30, 2018. The policy should require all funds from different sources maintain fiscal integrity and separate accounting. The City of Shasta Lake City Council should contact other cities and states who have expertise in successfully handling cannabis payments in order to ensure best practices are being followed.
R4. Within one week of the publishing of this report, the City of Shasta Lake City Council institute a safe method of transporting cash deposits, such as entering into a contract with an armored car service for the secure transportation of cash Funds for this expense can come from permits, fees, and taxes from Measure A.
R5. By December 31, 2018, the City of Shasta Lake City Council approve the construction of the required secondary access road in the Shasta Gateway Industrial Park. The funding options may include performance bonds, grants, assessments, and fees/tax increases.
R6. By August 31, 2018, the City of Shasta Lake City Council direct the City Manager to notify all current permit holders and applicants that no further plot splits or building can continue or commence until the Shasta Lake Fire Protection District authorizes further activities in the Shasta Gateway Industrial Park.
R7. By December 31, 2018, the Shasta Lake Fire Protection District Board explore all legal avenues to require the City of Shasta Lake to meet its legal obligation to complete the secondary access road in the Shasta Gateway Industrial Park.
R8. By September 30, 2018, the City of Shasta Lake City Council direct the City Manager to write and implement procedures clearly stating the legal, civil, and administrative consequences of violating City policies regarding ethical conduct, such as employee theft, influence peddling, and/or special permitting exceptions for friends or associates. City employees and City officials should be trained annually on these procedures. The Grand Jury recommends these procedures be updated annually, include what steps employees should follow if actual criminal or ethical violations occur or are suspected, and detail the protections afforded to whistleblowers.
R9. By August 30, 2018, the City of Shasta Lake City Council direct the City Manager to inform all permit holders and applicants in the Shasta Gateway Industrial Park that no further development will be allowed or approved until all required data and surveys have been submitted by businesses to and approved by the involved City infrastructure departments.
R10. By December 31, 2018, the City of Shasta Lake City Council shall direct the City Manager to determine code enforcement needs and begin the hiring and training in cannabis specific code enforcement process for staff. As stated in Measure A, this money should come from cannabis-related permit fees and taxes.
R11. By August 30, 2018, the City of Shasta Lake City Council direct the City Manager to create and approve written procedures to require City staff to conduct sampling at the discharge stations of the wastewater for each cannabis-related manufacturing or cultivation facility. Random inspections should occur weekly for the first year after initiation of the businesses’ production activities, in order to show consistency that harmful discharges are not occurring. These random inspections should continue afterward on a monthly basis. Staff services could be paid from Measure A fees.
REQUEST FOR RESPONSES
The City of Shasta Lake City Council:
F1 through F5, F7 through F12
R1 through R6, R8 through R11
The Shasta Lake Fire Protection District Board of Directors:
City of Shasta Lake City Manager (invited):
F1 through F5, F7 through F12
R1 through R6, R8 through R11
Community Corrections Partnership - AB 109 Funds
$45.7 Million for Public Safety - Where Has it Gone?
Since 2011, Shasta County has received Assembly Bill 109 funding from the State of California for use in dealing with persons formerly incarcerated in State prisons and reassigned to County responsibility. The 2017-2018 Shasta County Grand Jury found that the Shasta County Community Corrections Partnership has received over $45.7 million from October 2011 through December 2017 for this purpose. This money was specifically designated to compensate Shasta County for the additional costs incurred due to California Assembly Bill 109 (2011). Until January 2018, over $39 million of these funds had already been distributed –without use of a standardized system to evaluate and approve funding requests.
The intent of Assembly Bill 109 funding is to add to and create rehabilitative programs and services to reduce recidivism. Review of County budgets show the monies have, at times, been used for programs previously funded by the County general fund. This reduces the opportunities for new rehabilitative programs and services.
This is evidenced by the Shasta County Jail where funded jail beds have not increased above 2008 levels, despite an influx of Assembly Bill 109 funding. Jail beds are currently at capacity. Two thirds of this capacity has been provided using Assembly Bill 109 funds. Shasta County General Funds could have been used, as previously allocated to provide funding for all three detention levels at the Jail. This would have allowed over $2 million in Assembly Bill 109 funds to still be available for the operational costs of expanded Jail capacity. The Grand Jury found that the County should be using General Funds to fund current capacity. Assembly Bill 109 funds could be used for operational costs of the expansion of Jail facilities.
The Community Corrections Partnership has also recently begun funding ongoing Shasta County public safety programs using unspent fund balances, which will be depleted by the end of FY 2020-2021. This depletion of funds will leave a $2 million budget shortfall. The majority of this budget funds programs and services for the Shasta County Probation Department and the Shasta County Jail. The Shasta County Grand Jury also found that the Community Corrections Partnership does not routinely collect evaluative data or require program evaluations to show that current spending is effective in reducing recidivism, the intent of Assembly Bill 109 legislation. Of all funded programs, the Day Reporting Center is the only program that voluntarily provides such data.
The Shasta County Board of Supervisors has not appointed a member or designee to sit on the Community Corrections Partnership, as required by law. This is significant because the Board of Supervisors is responsible for approving the Community Corrections Partnership plans and budgets. Without regular attendance at its meetings, the Board of Supervisors risks making decisions on approximately $9 million in public safeties monies annually, without being fully informed.
This investigation was undertaken by the Shasta County Grand Jury after routine reviews of Shasta County budgets indicated that County funding appeared, at times, to have been replaced by Assembly Bill 109 funding. The Shasta County Grand Jury recommends that the Board of Supervisors identify alternate funding sources to offset the 25% decrease in available Assembly Bill 109 funding that will occur in the next two to three years. The Shasta County Grand Jury also recommends that the Board of Supervisors review information on how spending of Assembly Bill 109 funds has reduced recidivism before approving future budgets.
Additionally, the Shasta County Grand Jury recommends that the Board of Supervisors ensure that Assembly Bill 109 funds allocated to the Shasta County Jail be used to support increased capacity above pre-Assembly Bill 109 levels or redirected to other purposes consistent with Assembly Bill 109 objectives.
F1. The Shasta County Board of Supervisors has not complied with Penal Code § 1230(b)(2)(B) which requires “a county supervisor, the chief administrative officer for the county, or a designee of the board of supervisors” to be a member of the Community Corrections Partnership. The Board of Supervisors has routinely approved Community Corrections Partnership Assembly Bill 109 budgets of $8-10 million annually, without this involvement.
F2. The Shasta County Board of Supervisors has the authority to veto the Community Corrections Partnership budget, but its members have not requested regular written reports from the Community Corrections Partnership since 2012. The Board of Supervisor’s lack of information related to this significant source of public safety funds creates a potential risk for effective budget decision-making.
F3. The Community Corrections Partnership does not require all programs and services to collect outcome-based data or program evaluations to show whether current spending is effective in reducing recidivism. The Shasta County Board of Supervisors routinely approves Assembly Bill 109 budgets without review of the effectiveness of their programs, which creates a potential for less effective budget decisions.
F4. The $45,782,351 received by the Shasta County Community Corrections Partnership has not increased capacity at the Shasta County Jail or in the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office Work Release program above 2008 levels. This means that State Assembly Bill 109 funding is being used to meet the pre-existing incarceration needs of Shasta County instead of providing additional incarceration capacity to serve the Assembly Bill 109 population.
F5. Based on current funding and program spending, a 25% reduction in Assembly Bill 109 budgets will be required in FY 2020-2021 once unspent balances are depleted. Unless the Shasta County Board of Supervisors finds an alternate funding source, Shasta County will be unable to maintain current levels of public safety services.
F6. There has been no audit to determine whether Assembly Bill 109 funds are being allocated as designated by Assembly Bill 109. Budgets and minutes of the Board of Supervisors and Community Corrections Partnership indicate that Assembly Bill 109 funds have been used to replace rather than add to Shasta County General Funds for public safety, indicating the need for such an audit.
F7. Shasta County Community Corrections Partnership has distributed $39,049,340 of its $45,782,351 in California State Assembly Bill 109 funds without using any standardized format for funding requests or the review or approval of the requests. This has contributed to subjective funding distributions.
The Grand Jury recommends:
R1. By September 30, 2018, the Shasta County Board of Supervisors designate one of its members, the chief administrative officer for the county, or a designee of the Board of Supervisors to sit on the Community Corrections Partnership, as required by Penal Code § 1230(b)(2)(B).
R2. By September 30, 2018, the Shasta County Board of Supervisors begin requiring quarterly written reports from the Community Corrections Partnership that include information on Shasta County recidivism rates and the percentage of programs that are evidence-based.
R3. By December 31, 2019, the Shasta County Board of Supervisors review program evaluations that demonstrate the effectiveness of budgeted services and programs before approving Community Corrections Partnership budgets.
R4. By FY 2019-2020, the Shasta County Board of Supervisors ensure, prior to approving Community Corrections Partnership budgets, that any funds allocated to the Shasta County Jail and the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office Work Release Program are used to support increased capacity above pre-Assembly Bill 109 levels or be redirected to another use consistent with Assembly Bill 109’s objectives.
R5. By June 30, 2019, the Shasta County Board of Supervisors create a funding plan to address the 25% reduction in public safety services that will occur in FY 2020-2021, after the depletion of unspent fund balances.
R6. By June 30, 2019, the Shasta County Auditor-Controller conduct a focused audit to determine whether Assembly Bill 109 funds have been used to replace existing Shasta County funding and present the results to the Community Corrections Partnership and the Shasta County Board of Supervisors at a public meeting. This process should occur annually.
REQUEST FOR RESPONSES
Shasta County Board of Supervisors:
F1 through F5, F7
R1 through R5
Shasta County Auditor-Controller:
Shasta County Chief Probation Officer (invited):
F1 through F7
R1 through R6