Legislative Analyst's Office
Analysis of the 2002-03 Budget Bill
The Department of Developmental Services (DDS) operates five developmental centers (Agnews, Fairview, Lanterman, Porterville, and Sonoma) and two leased facilities (Canyon Springs and Sierra Vista). As of December 31, 2001, the system housed approximately 3,700 clients. The budget includes $3.8 million for one project at the Lanterman Developmental Center.
We withhold recommendation on the Security Improvement Project at Lanterman Developmental Center pending receipt and review of information explaining (1) the reasons for delay in seeking environmental review/compliance of the project, (2) the status of the project, and (3) what actions have been taken to assure that the project will begin construction in 2002-03.
The Governor's budget includes $3.8 million (General Fund) for the construction phase of the Security Improvement Project at Lanterman Developmental Center. We note that the 1998-99 Budget Act appropriated $4,992,000 for preliminary plans, working drawings, and construction for this project. At that time, DDS justified the project based on population projections that indicated a need to safely house an additional 75 forensic patients and 53 behavioral patients. The original project scope included a guard control building, 16-foot-high perimeter security fence, sally port, four observation towers, exterior security lighting, two day-training buildings, personal alarm system, nurse station upgrades, window security screens, a building perimeter alarm system, and a surveillance system. The Supplemental Report of the 1998-99 Budget Act recognized a February 2000 completion date for the project.
However, the community surrounding Lanterman Developmental Center protested the housing of forensic patients at the center, and filed litigation alleging that DDS did not comply with provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in seeking environmental approval of the project. After several months of negotiating with the community, DDS decided not to house forensic patients at Lanterman. Instead, all 128 beds will be used to treat behavioral patients. As a result, DDS withdrew its CEQA documents, which envisioned forensic patients at the center, and requested the State Public Works Board (SPWB) to amend the project scope to remove certain project components related to forensic patients. In October 2000, the SPWB, after notifying the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC), amended the project scope to remove the guard control building, sally port, observation towers, exterior lighting and replaced the 16-foot-high perimeter security fence with a 10-foot-high fence. Later, in November 2001, DDS determined that the guard control building was needed to house the perimeter alarm system and surveillance system, as well as the security personnel to monitor these systems and provide security services to the facility. Again, after notifying the JLBC, the project scope was amended to include the guard control building.
We understand that DDS has yet to resubmit its environmental documents in order to obtain CEQA approval for either of the two project scope revisions. Without CEQA approval, the project has yet to proceed to bid for construction and the previous construction appropriation has since reverted to the General Fund.
We withhold recommendation on the $3.8 million for construction of the Security Improvement Project pending receipt and review of information explaining (1) the reasons for delay in seeking environmental review/compliance of the project, (2) the status of the project, and (3) what actions have been taken to assure that the project will begin construction in 2002-03.