YUBA CITY (CBS13) — State regulators say the Sutter County Jail is one inch too close to a building next door, and that will cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“It’s a $429,000 inch,” said Jim Arkens, Sutter County administrative officer.
The distance between the jail and the administration offices is only an inch, but the board of supervisors will need to fork over nearly a half a million dollars.
If they don’t, the county will lose $10 million needed to upgrade the structure.
“It’s a frame structure next to a masonry structure, so they want us to change an inch gap to two,” said Arkens.
But what’s an inch? For investors, it means buying the 30-year bonds or not.
“As part of that, they need to be ensured these projects are going to last that long,” said Bob Takeshta with the board of State and Community Correction.
The sheriff has no choice, because the department must add beds. Due to prisoner realignment, the county’s inmate population has jumped by a third, or about 100 inmates.
“The jails aren’t like they used to be,” said Arkens.” They are turning into mini-prisons and the counties are just not equipped for that.”
There is a way to avoid having to pay to add the inch—not connecting the new with the old.
“All of that building would be built to that seismic level 3. It’s the fact that it attaches to an existing, older building,” said Takeshta.
But the county wouldn’t be able to do all of the necessary upgrades. In the end, the county administrator says it’s a steep price to pay for an area that has very few earthquakes.
County officials say they plan to ask state lawmakers to cover the cost.