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Kings County Jail

Kings County received funds to build a new Kings County Sheriff's building next to the Kings County Jail.

HANFORD — Governor Jerry Brown on June 27 signed the 2018-2019, $139-billion budget with $8.7 million going directly toward public safety in Kings County.

The $8.7 million is to fund new infrastructure for public safety for Kings County Sheriff’s Office and the Corcoran Police Department.

Sheriff David Robinson said that the $7 million the sheriff’s department will receive is to go toward building a new headquarters next to the current jail and a transient and homeless restroom and shower facility.

“In its 125 years the Kings County Sheriff’s Office has only resided in two permanent locations, the original jail, The Bastille, and its current location on Lacey Boulevard where it has been since 1964,” Robinson said.

Robinson said the sanitary facilities for the homeless will serve as an inmate work training program. The facilities are also a way for the department to help the homeless population and introduce them to organizations and programs that could help them.

The new headquarters and sanitary facility are set to be on the east side of the current county jail on Kings County Drive.

The current Kings County Sheriff’s office, Robinson said, is slated to be torn down and made into a parking lot upon the moving of the offices.

Robinson said that he would like to thank Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield). Robinson said Salas went through a great effort to secure these funds for Kings County.

"Without him this wouldn't have been possible," Robinson said in an email.

Robinson said that community members also wrote a letter in support of this project and that he would like to thank them.

The $1.7 million going toward Corcoran is to help finish the police facility. Corcoran Chief of Police Reuben Shortnacy said that state funds help provide a long-term solution for Corcoran’s public safety infrastructure needs.

The budget will also fund projects that indirectly aid residents of Kings County.

The budget includes $8 million for Valley Fever research, outreach and awareness. Valley Fever is a fungal infection that largely affects the southwestern region.

Organizations that will receive the funds are Universities of California, Valley Fever Institute at Kern Medical Center and the California Department of Public Health.

Kings County is considered an endemic area in California, a place where the rate of contraction is high.

So far this year, the California Department of Health estimates that 103 cases of Valley Fever are in Kings County as of the end of June, more than double the number of cases for the same time period in 2017.

Other funds that may affect Kings County are set to go toward education, water, Medi-Cal and homelessness.

There is to be $97.2 billion for K-12 education and $34.3 billion for higher education.

The budget sets aside $93 million for safe and affordable drinking water grants for disadvantaged communities.

The Medi-Cal expansion is to have $18.7 billion of state funds. This is an increase of $803.2 million from last year’s budget.

The state budget also sets aside $500 million to assist local governments to address homelessness.

Salas said in a press release that the state’s budget “delivers for the Central Valley.”

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The reporter can be reached at 583-2458 or chelsea.shannon@lee.net.

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