Supervisor Bob Nelson casts dissenting vote
The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 Tuesday to approve a $1.4 billion dollar budget, with Supervisor Bob Nelson dissenting.
The budget was OK’d following the morning’s hearings and deliberations.
In his final comments, Supervisor Nelson explained his reasons for voting against the budget. “I will be collegial in my dissent today. I am really proud of this budget in most ways. It is a values document. It represents a large portion of my values and the values of my constituents.
“But there are some fundamental inequities in this budget that I cannot accept,” Supervisor Nelson said. “I do appreciate the effort of my colleagues to try to debate these things. And I do believe all of you when you guys said that in September we will come to discuss this. I appreciate that I know that this board has been making some large strides in resource allocation that we have been trying to deal with, for generations frankly, that we are trying to solve.
“But at the end of the day for this budget the way it currently is situated, I can’t be there. I look forward to the opportunity to have future discussions of future budgets.” he said.
In the public safety portion of the budget, a position was recently added. as approved by the Community Corrections Partnership, for a multi-agency assessment, case management and re-entry coordinator for the Discharge Planning Team.
Supervisor Nelson said public safety and mental health are the main issues that he hears about from his constituents. Supervisor Nelson, whose district is in North County, advocated for the addition of a community resource deputy for North County to come out of Proposition 172. Supervisor Nelson also pointed out that only one co-response team is in the North County, as opposed to two in the south.
Supervisor Gregg Hart agreed that a broader discussion of Proposition 172 is needed. The co-response team is one of the most successful programs in mental health services, according to Supervisor Hart.
Other hiring needs for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office were discussed. There are currently nine deputy vacancies on the law enforcement side and 27 vacancies on the custody side of public safety.
“So I just want the CEO to reinforce that there is money available and budgeted for overhire strategies,” Supervisor Das Williams said. “I just want that to be really clear to the department. Overtime is a worse enemy than hiring. We want the hiring. We want more positions filled.
“This is something that Supervisor Nelson and I talked about at the budget deliberations, and we just want to make it super crystal clear that there is money available for the hiring,” said Supervisor Williams, who praised the overall budget process as the board worked with department heads and county CEO Mona Miyasato.
“It has really I think given us great progress as an institution and has really enabled us to deliver substantively on infrastructure, road repair, human services, public safety and we have bold brave moves in store because we are not just going to hold the status quo in that tranquil, we are going to push the envelope and do some great things together.”
Deferred maintenance and capital projects as well as veterans services are also included in this budget.