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Revised state budget could delay new Santa Rosa courthouse

Gov. Jerry Brown's revised budget proposal released Monday likely would delay construction on a new $160 million Sonoma County courthouse by one year, officials said.

"If this sticks, I don't think we are high enough in the mix to (start) this year," said Jos?Octavio Guill?, court executive officer of Sonoma County Superior Court.

Brown's proposed budget, which needs legislative approval, would take effect July 1.

Guillen said the state's courthouse construction fund established in 2008 by SB 1407 allocates about $310 million a year to pay the debt on voter approved bonds. Under the revised budget, the governor wants to take $240 million from the fund, leaving only $70 for bond repayments.

The Sonoma County project and a courthouse project in Lake County are among 24 projects slated to receive construction funds. Design work on the Santa Rosa courthouse was to begin this year with construction to begin in 2014 and completion two years later.

The revised budget was not all bad news for county officials.

The initial budget called for a 20 percent reduction to in-home support services, but the revision seeks a 7 percent reduction.

There are 5,137 people in Sonoma County currently receiving in-home support services. Half are adults with disabilities and the other half are seniors who are either disabled or extremely frail.

The revised budget also retains a proposed 27 percent reduction in the amount of assistance children receive through the state's CalWORKS welfare program. About 6,000 of the county's 7,800 CalWORKS clients are children.

The average CalWORKS cash benefit for a family of three is $464 a month and $370 a month in CalFresh food stamps.


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