The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved a comprehensive month-long study on the extent and cost of the county's deferred maintenance backlog.
Santa Barbara County Fourth District Supervisor Peter Adam says $300 million is the semi-official number in deferred maintenance of the county's roads, parks and facilities.
Adam has led the effort to get the county to address the growing deferred maintenance backlog.
"Last year in the budget cycle there was $7 million of maintenance that did not get done by our choice, absolutely, intentionally, did not get done during that last budget cycle", Adam says, "when $7 million worth of maintenance goes over into the deferred column, it does not go as seven million dollars, it goes as eight million dollars because you didn't do it this year its going to cost more to fix next year."
Adam is pushing for the county to adopt an ordinance that will set aside money every year to pay for maintenance work.
The ordinance will either be passed by a majority vote of the Board of Supervisors or by a simple majority vote of county residents in a proposed June Primary Election ballot initiative.
"We have to choose whether we are going to be okay watching our infrastructure crumble or whether we, as a society, want to prioritize the maintenance of our infrastructure", Adam says, "because if we leave it alone for another 5 to 10 years we're never going to be able to catch up."
Results of a study on the proposed county maintenance ordinance will be presented to the Board of Supervisors next month.