San Mateo County might be shackled to debt for the new jail it began building without the money for it.
A new county jail is under construction in Redwood City -- and it's not entirely paid for yet.
That means San Mateo County could be on the hook for $80 million, unless the state can come to the rescue to fund a project it told the county to "stop," according to the San Francisco Examiner.
The new jail will contain 500 beds and a "constellation of social services," the newspaper reported.
It also won't get much money from the Board of State and Community Corrections, which is now hearing the county ask for financial help after it was told not to go through with the project.
San Mateo "began construction" on the $165 million jail "on the hope that state agencies" would reimburse it, the newspaper reported. It hasn't.
State Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, is now working on legislation in Sacramento that would allow grants to be applied retroactively and also erase another requirement in order to make state funding for the under-construction jail possible.
San Mateo officials hope that an $80 million grant originally given to San Joaquin County can be re-assigned to them. If not, they'll be on the hook, and will have to issue revenue bonds, the newspaper reported.
The county is still paying off bonds for a new crime lab from years ago.
"No matter what San Mateo does," said Curtis Hill, executive officer of the correctons board, in comments to the newspaper, "the biggest problem is that they started the project."