City would have to close it without cash from the state
The City of Taft has been promised money from the state to keep the Community Correctional Facility open after it said it would close it down before using up city general fund reserves to keep it open.
That word came on Wednesday when city officials and officials from other Kern County cities with CCCFs met with with the California Department of Corrections and rehabilitation.
Taft has not been paid by the state in since April for housing inmates and reached the point where it told the CDCR it would close the facility if it didn't get money.
“We let them know we are not willing to bankrupt the entire City of Taft and the CCF at the same time to keep it open,” Mayor Dave Noerr said Thursday morning. “We told them to be prepared to come and get your prisoners on Dec. 1 if you don't fulfill your contractual obligations.”
The city operates the CCF under contract t the CDCR. It has not been paid for May and June of the 2009-10 fiscal year or the first two months of the current fiscal year and the state currently owes the city $2.3 million, according to city staff reports.
Noerr said city officials were told by the state on Wednesday that the state has promised to give the city half of what it owes for last year within two weeks with another payment to follow two weeks later and more money to come.
“Basically every two weeks they are going to try to give us some money,” Noerr said
The Taft City Council discussed the issue Tuesday night and approved a letter for City Manager Bob Gorson and Police Chief Ken McMinn. Later, stronger wording was added to the letter.
The CCF has been operating on reserve funds since the state halted payments and only has enough money remaining to pay for operations only through Dec. 1.
At Tuesday nights meeting, the council discussed cost-cutting measures to keep the facility operating that could include furloughs for as many as six correctional officers and five other staff members.
Councilman Paul Linder suggested adding stronger language to a letter proposed by city staff.
“We are prepared to shut down our facility and release those inmates back to state custody,” Linder said.