The 2018-2019 Colusa County grand jury recently released its yearly report, highlighting several investigations they have conducted over the past year as well as recommendations for the county moving forward.
The grand jury consists of six officers and 11 members. These citizens act independent of the court and implement investigations into all agencies and departments within their area.
Here is a breakdown of the report:
Colusa County Jail
The grand jury conducted an in-depth inspection of the Colusa County Jail in October 2018. Their findings indicate the jail is well-run with no major issues discovered. However, as stated in previous reports, safety risks for both staff and inmates exist due to the current building layout.
“Within the jail, security risks exist to both staff and inmate populations due to the linear design that necessitates frequent contact with prisoners,” according to the report.
The single-floor facility can hold a maximum of 92 inmates and has 13 sheriff’s office employees. At the time of inspection, 73 inmates were being housed.
The report also found the Colusa County Jail has been impacted by the number of correctional officers it has been able to retain.
“Jail staff indicated staff turnover was high, due to jail positions typically being entry-level positions,” according to the report. “Although the jail was understaffed, current officers were willing to work extra shifts to ensure jail and inmates’ needs were met.”
According to the report, the information for this investigation was sourced from a tour of the jail facility, interviews with jail administrative staff and line personnel, interviews with male and female inmates, and reviews of past jail inspections and state inspection reports.
Tri-County Juvenile Rehabilitation Facility and The Maxine Singer Youth Guidance Center
As the primary sites for youth offenders in the area, the Colusa County grand jury conducted their yearly inspection of the Tri-County Juvenile Rehabilitation Facility and the Maxine Singer Youth Guidance Center – also known as Camp Singer – in April 2019.
Colusa County utilizes these facilities located in Yuba County because it does not have its own juvenile detention center.
“Colusa County is a joint powers authority with Yuba and Sutter counties to house juveniles either awaiting sentencing or who are serving court obligations,” according to the report.
The two facilities, located at 1023 14th Street, Marysville, are located on the same grounds and house both male and female youth offenders.
The findings outlined in the report state the facility is in good condition considering the age and wear on the building. The dormitory, recreational and dining areas were all documented to be clean and well maintained.
It was also noted that youth at this facility received specialized training, which included carpentry courses.
“The administration and staff are dedicated to improving the health, safety and well-being of the incarcerated youths,” according to the report. “Skills and practices are provided to the youth to help them learn how to become productive citizens.”
There were four youth from Colusa County housed at the facility at the time of the inspection.
Gas Tax Distribution in Colusa County
After a complaint was made by a Colusa County resident, the grand jury launched an investigation into the allocations and distributions of gasoline tax dollars for road repairs throughout the county. This investigation also served as a follow-up to the previous year’s grand jury report regarding the 2017 gas tax bill, or Senate Bill 1.
According to the report, the city of Colusa is responsible for 42 miles of road; the city of Williams has 26.7 miles of road, plus 11.9 miles of truck routes; and the county maintains 753 miles of roadways.
While the grand jury findings indicated that the gas dollars are being distributed properly, they also noted that maintenance and repair of local roads is consistently underfunded in all of Colusa County as well as the individual cities of Colusa and Williams.
“The grand jury finds that many of the roads in the local cities and the county of Colusa are ‘at risk,’ rating between good and poor,” according to the report. “Each of the incorporated cities and Colusa County is researching, applying for, and in some cases receiving additional grant monies to help repair local roads.”
Gas tax dollars are distributed to cities and counties based on existing statutory formulas calculated using factors such as population and number of registered vehicles, according to the report.
“SB 1 has already begun to fund both cities and the county though the allocations have been less than expected and still fall short of the funding level required to fully fund county and city road maintenance needs,” according to the report.
The grand jury urges Colusa County and the incorporated cities of Colusa and Williams to continue to secure grant funding to augment their limited road repair budgets. They also suggested that the cities work with their Enterprise Zones to encourage growth and generate more tax dollars for infrastructure maintenance and repairs.