Legislative Analyst's Office

Analysis of the 2003-04 Budget Bill

California Conservation Corps (3340)

The California Conservation Corps (CCC) has 16 residential centers and approximately 40 non-residential satellite facilities in urban and rural areas. The Governor's budget proposes $32.8 million from lease-revenue bonds for two major capital outlay projects.

Sequoia District Relocation/Construction

We withhold recommendation on the Sequoia District Relocation pending legislative approval of two Department of Developmental Services capital outlay projects at the Porterville Developmental Center.

The CCC has requested $14.4 million to relocate its Sequoia Base Center that is currently located in leased facilities at the state Developmental Center in Porterville. The CCC states that it has leased the current facilities and site from Department of Developmental Services (DDS) since 1984. Recently, DDS notified the CCC that the current lease would not be renewed because DDS needs the property for an expansion project at the developmental center. Specifically, because of a growing forensic/severe behavioral population, DDS has requested capital outlay funding for a 96-bed residential unit expansion and a new recreation/activity center. These new facilities will be located on the current CCC Sequoia Base Center site. Consequently, the CCC is proposing to move the Sequoia Base Center.

Our office has withheld recommendation on the DDS projects until the department can validate the possible receipt of federal reimbursements if the DDS facilities are built. If the DDS projects are not approved by the Legislature, the CCC will be able to remain at its current location on the Porterville grounds. Consequently, we withhold recommendation on the CCC proposal pending the Legislature's action on the DDS Porterville projects.

Tahoe Base Center Relocation

We recommend approval of $18.4 million to acquire and construct a new residential facility in the Tahoe Basin with budget bill language that (1) limits the search area for a new site and (2) assures the Legislature's oversight role when fully funding all phases of a lease-revenue bond project.

The CCC has requested $18.4 million for site acquisition, preliminary plans, working drawings, and construction of a new residential facility in the Lake Tahoe area. The current facility is located at the former Echo Summit Ski Resort on United States Forest Service (USFS) property. The CCC has been at this site since 1994, when it was forced to relocate from a site in Meyers when that property was sold. Before moving to the Echo Summit facility, the CCC explored the possibility of purchasing a site on which to build a new base center. However, it was unable to find any suitable sites at that time.

In 2000, the CCC contracted for a Department of General Services (DGS) review of the physical condition of facilities and infrastructure at the Tahoe Base Center. DGS found numerous structural and operating deficiencies, space deficiencies, and various California Building Code violations. As a result, CCC requested DGS to conduct a feasibility study on renovating and expanding the current site, or relocating to a new site. Based on the USFS unwillingness to consider a 35,000 square foot expansion on the current site, the cost of fixing the existing deficiencies, and a desire to avoid the severe weather conditions on Echo Summit, the CCC concluded that the Tahoe Base Center would be better served in the long-term if it were relocated to a lower elevation. After reviewing the facility study, we do not dispute the CCC's conclusion to relocate the facility.

In addition to the reasons cited above for relocation, we understand there are potential sites currently available for purchase in the Meyers/South Lake Tahoe area that would be suitable for a CCC base center. We note that a relocation to the Meyers/South Lake Tahoe area also makes programmatic sense for the CCC because it places the center closer to its client agencies, and it would not require the CCC to cross over Echo Summit in winter conditions when there is the possibility of road closures.

We recommend approval of the Tahoe Base Center relocation proposal and recommend the inclusion of budget bill language limiting the search area for a new site to the Meyers/South Lake Tahoe Area. Additionally, as recommended in the "Crosscutting Issues" section of this chapter, we also recommend the addition of budget bill language we have suggested for those major projects that would receive full funding of all project phases from lease-revenue bonds.

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