Legislative Analyst's Office

Analysis of the 2001-02 Budget Bill

Judicial Council (0250)

The 2001-02 Governor's Budget includes nearly $2 million from the General Fund for the Judicial Council for capital outlay. This amount would fund various phases of design and construction of four projects, including new appellate courthouses in Santa Ana and Fresno, and renovation of the existing appellate courthouse in Los Angeles.

Site Acquisition and Preliminary Plans for Two Courthouses Behind Schedule

We recommend the Legislature delete $1.3 million requested for the working drawing phase of new appellate courthouses in Santa Ana and Fresno because the courthouse sites have not been acquired and working drawing funds will not be needed in the budget year. (Delete Items 0250-301-0001 [1] and [2]).

The budget includes $1.3 million from the General Fund for working drawings to construct a new 43,311 gross square feet (gsf) appellate courthouse in Santa Ana ($621,000) and a new 51,399 gsf appellate courthouse in Fresno ($684,000). Funding for property acquisition and preliminary plans was appropriated in the 2000-01 Budget Act. At that time, site acquisition for both projects was scheduled to be complete by November 2001. The Department of General Services reports site selection has been delayed and acquisition will not be complete for either project until May 2002. Preliminary plans for the projects cannot be completed until after the sites are acquired. Given that both projects are behind schedule, working drawing funds will not be needed in the budget year. Consequently, we recommend the Legislature delete $1.3 million under Items
0250-301-0001 (1) and (2).

Withhold Recommendation on Courthouse Renovation

We withhold recommendation on $567,000 for the preliminary plans, working drawings, and construction to renovate the 2nd Appellate District courthouse because it is unclear whether the court's vacant judicial and staff positions will be filled in the budget year.

The Governor's budget includes a request for $567,000 from the General Fund to renovate 4,900 square feet of office space in the 2nd Appellate District courthouse in Los Angeles in order to provide additional space for judicial staff and judges chambers. These funds would be used to renovate existing space for judicial chambers and related office space for attorneys and staff. The court recently received authorization, through Chapter 998, Statutes of 2000 (SB 1857, Burton) for four additional judges. However, the four judges have not been appointed, and it is not clear when the positions will be filled. Furthermore, the court has 40 vacant staff positions in the 2nd District, including 16 positions associated with the new judges. Given these currently unfilled positions, it is not clear that renovations to the existing court space are necessary. Pending information regarding these staffing issues, we withhold recommendation of $567,000 under Item 0250-301-0001 (3).

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