San Mateo County officials plan on helping the local court ease its congestion by pledging up to $630,000 from its state-issued realignment funding to cover the cost of an extra commissioner the next three years.
After the initial three-year period, the San Mateo County Superior Court will assume full financial responsibility for the position, according to the recommendation by County Manager John Maltbie.
The Board of Supervisors will consider the request at Tuesday’s meeting as part of adopting its $2.1 billion budget for fiscal 2014-15.
Although the state gave counties more money for realigned prisoners now in local control, the cash-strapped courts did not fare as well and has absorbed continual significant cuts. The new commissioner should help cover the county’s entire criminal justice caseload including that of realigned populations, Maltbie wrote in his budget memo. Realignment shifts some state prisoners to county control.
The salary and benefit costs are $205,000 annually.
Court Executive Officer John Fitton declined comment on the funding recommendation until after the Board of Supervisors act Tuesday.
The San Mateo County Superior Court once had seven commissioner positions but slashed four positions in 2013 as part of its budget trimming. Commissioners also cannot vote with judges or preside over budgets and court assignments.
Commissioners hold essentially the same duties as judges although they tend to be assigned misdemeanors and lower-level responsibilities like traffic court. Two sitting commissioners were elected judge in the June primary, leaving those upcoming vacancies to fill, too.
Although the proposed new commissioner position has no direct bearing on the county’s budget, the addition is one of several changes since the board approved its two-year document last September. The preliminary 2014-15 budget then was $1.93 billion with 5,343 positions. The updated budget is $2,100,387,995 and adds 22 positions.
Among the funding changes since last year is the addition of $87.1 million in net proceeds from the Circle Star Plaza sale which are being set aside for future construction projects and $18.5 million in other capital improvement project like the Maguire Correctional Facility, new solar panels, the replacement animal shelter and water fixture upgrades.
Changes to the allocation of the Measure A half-cent sales tax total $8.6 million and include extending a contract with Seton Medical Center, fixing and replacing farm labor housing, improving the East Palo Alto library and adding two Veterans Services positions.
The budget also includes $1.34 million for a District Attorney Case Management System and $100,000 to redesign its homeless shelter.
The board will revisit the fiscal year 2014-15 adopted budget at its Sept. 23 meeting after making final adjustments and revisions.
The Board of Supervisors meets 9 a.m. Tuesday, June 17 in Board Chambers, 400 County Government Center, Redwood City.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 102