Watch CBS News

Funding For New El Dorado County Sheriff's Building Beats Deadline

EL DORADO COUNTY (CBS13) - County leaders rushed to beat an end of year deadline and approved borrowing millions of dollars to build a new sheriff's headquarters.

It's the largest most costly project El Dorado has ever undertaken, but it's one the sheriff said is a must.

Entering the current facility is like going back in time. What was once the county jail is now used for evidence storage and cramped office space.

"This is it. This is where we're at. We are so overcrowded that it's not manageable anymore," said spokeswoman for the department, Sgt. Tasha Thompson.

The building was originally built in 1970 and is showing its age.

Ceilings scarred with water damage from a leaking roof, even over the weapon lockers. But security is an even larger issue.

"Our parking is not secure and that's a big concern especially this day in age with what we got going on in this country," said Sheriff John D'Agostini of El Dorado County.

The new facility will be off Missouri Flat Road. It will allow the sheriff to consolidate department operations. Right now, operations are spread out over 9 different buildings.

"We have staff on a regular basis spending hours driving around the county just to communicate with one another," said Sgt. Thompson.

So how much will it cost? An estimated $68 million.

"That was my biggest issue from Day 1, was $68 million is a lot of money," said the sheriff.

But he also said they had no choice, confirmed in a recent facility study.

"They pretty much advised us to stop spending money on it. They said replace it," said Russ Fackrell, Facilities Manager for El Dorado County.

The county is already facing a budget deficit, so they're using a federal loan to finance the project over the next 40 years and locked it in at a low interest rate.

"Accepted by the county at 2.38 percent, this is a godsend," said Sheriff D'Agostini.

But the bigger question, who's paying for it?

"Simply using our existing dollars and shifting them towards the facility," said Laura Schwartz, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer in El Dorado County.

Taxes won't go up according to the county, but cuts may be made down the road.

"We are going to have to be frugal, definitely," said Schwartz.

But county leaders believe it will ultimately allow for a safer, more secure workplace for those sworn to protect and serve.

They plan to hire a contractor by March, break ground by August 2017 and be open by 2019.

The new facility will also have a morgue and shooting range, two things they don't already have.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.