Taft is hoping third time is the charm

 Los Angeles County is scheduled for the third time next week to decide whether or not to sign a 5-year, $75 million dollar contract that would ship inmates from Southern California to Taft and pump hundreds of thousands of dollars into the city and the local economy each year.

Twice before the L.A. County Board of Supervisors have been scheduled to approve the deal and twice they have tabled it, leading to some speculation that the contract may not get approved before the November election – if at all.

City officials here in Taft are hoping the third time is the charm.

The CCF has been closed for nearly 10 months and the city has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in income and paid out several hundred thousand dollars in unemployment costs for the employees that lost their jobs.

City officials have been optimistic since a tentative agreement was reached in early August that the Community Correctional Facility would reopen.

But that optimism hasn't been rewarded, not yet anyway.

The proposed contract was tabled at a meeting on Aug. 14 right after the Taft City Council unanimously approved it.

It was tabled a second time at the Sept. 4 meeting.

The CCF contract is back on the agenda for the Sept. 25 meeting of the L.A. County Supervisors and again it is included in the consent agenda.

Items placed on consent agendas are usually considered routine and non controversial, so the fact that the contract has been tabled twice is somewhat unusual.

Both the L.A. County Sheriff's and executive officer are recommending approval.

The CCF was closed in November 2011 after AB109, the prison realignment bill, was passed by the state legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. The law dramatically reduced the number of lower security inmates in the state prison system and resulted in the closure of the Taft CCF and three others in Shafter, Delano and Coalinga.