As State of California government flounders from a lack of money, the Legislature has spent dedicated funds just to deal with the overall budget shortfall. This fiscal year, the Legislature has spent or redirected nearly $1.7 million in court construction funds toward budget problems. Now, the Judicial Council has approved major cost-cutting in court construction plans, which includes a significant reassessment of Inyo County’s new court building.
In a press release issued Tuesday afternoon by the California Judicial Council, officials said that the Court Facilities Working Group has recommended canceling some court projects and seriously reducing others. Inyo County’s project is among 13 that will not move forward but will be “reassessed to find significant ways to reduce costs, including where feasible, reducing square footage, undertaking renovations of existing buildings instead of new construction, evaluating lease options, and using lower-cost construction methods.” 24 other projects will move forward with cost reductions.
The news release from the Judicial Council says that the Administrative Office of the Courts will “collaborate with the affected courts with projects to be reassessed.” The AOC will report back to a subcommittee to seek further direction. Officials say all projects to be reassessed will be “required to significantly reduce their costs in order to move forward.”
The Judicial Council documents say projects like Inyo’s will have to reduce costs from 6% to 14% at this point. The State had described Inyo’s project as one with two courtrooms, 28,774 square feet and a cost of $32,286,000. The project still has no definite site in Bishop.