Advertisement

Flynn Seeks Private Meeting to Discuss Use of Prop. 172 Money

Share
TIMES STAFF WRITER

Supervisor John Flynn said Friday he wants to meet in private early next year with top county law enforcement and health officials to discuss a limited expansion of programs eligible for Proposition 172 funding.

Flynn favors extending funding from the half-cent sales tax measure to include mental-health crisis teams and code enforcement. Under a county-adopted ordinance, all money generated from the measure--about $40 million last year--now goes exclusively to the sheriff, district attorney, public defender and probation offices.

Flynn offered no specifics, such as how much money he would want to divert for additional services or whether the expansion would be set by ordinance.

Advertisement

“This is a discussion that will be based pretty much on cooperation, so you don’t go into it saying, ‘We want to do this, this and this,’ ” he said.

Supervisor Susan Lacey, who favors expanding the agencies eligible for Proposition 172 funding, said she would support Flynn’s idea if it meant public and county officials would eventually conduct a full review of the public safety ordinance. She said she also wants funding to be available for child abuse services. Supervisors Kathy Long, Judy Mikels and Frank Schillo could not be reached for comment.

Flynn’s plan is to schedule a January meeting with Sheriff Bob Brooks, Dist. Atty. Michael D. Bradbury, mental health chief David Gudeman, acting county manager Bert Bigler and one other county supervisor.

Opening the meeting to more than two supervisors would mandate that it take place in public under state law, Flynn said. That would only hamper negotiations, he said, and for this reason the meeting should remain private.

The notion of expanding the reach of Proposition 172 was revived last week after the abrupt resignation of county Chief Administrative Officer David Baker. With the county anticipating a $5-million budget shortfall, Baker warned that the ordinance binding the sales tax money unfairly ties the hands of county officials.

Flynn has yet to make any direct overtures to Brooks or Bradbury, and no meeting between the three has been scheduled. The sheriff and district attorney this week offered to designate all new taxes above the $40 million they currently receive to go toward operation of a new Juvenile Hall complex, but they have been adamant in opposing reallocation of any other funding.

Advertisement

*

Brooks said Friday that funneling Proposition 172 money to other departments or programs, such as mental health crisis teams, would come at the expense of public safety agencies.

“When you’re looking at crisis teams, I don’t think we can outright absorb those teams without doing some damage to our department. We’d have to make some type of operational cuts to do that,” he said.

Ventura County is the only county in California with a local ordinance that binds Proposition 172 dollars to four law enforcement agencies and guarantees an annual cost-of-living adjustment paid out of the general fund budget. Flynn suggested, however, that Brooks and Bradbury at least should be open to discussions about expanding the use of Proposition 172 dollars.

“I think they’re a little looser than they were, but they’re not open to completely doing away with [the ordinance], nor would I be,” Flynn said. “The public told us exactly what to do with that funding, but I think the public would not be opposed to [funding] the crisis team.”

Staff writer Tina Dirmann contributed to this report.

Advertisement