County board to weigh added funds for grand jury

Robert Rivas is shown at right on the dais.

Supervisors on Tuesday will consider allocating $5,406 to the San Benito County Civil Grand Jury so it can continue functioning through the fiscal year ending June 30.
San Benito County civil grand jury is running out of money and has not been meeting. Supervisors responded last week by setting up an ad hoc committee on the matter, as some officials said they would support allocating additional funds for the rest of the fiscal year while cutting back on compensation to jurors in some areas.
The changes prompted one current grand juror—the group is below its specified allotment of 19 members—to proclaim that the action will dissolve the civil grand jury.
The civil grand jury investigates and reports on entities using taxpayer dollars and reconvenes on an annual basis. Its members are made up of local residents who volunteer for the job.
At last Tuesday’s county board meeting, supervisors heard from grand jurors about the need for more funding in order to keep meeting through the fiscal year ending in June. The grand jury is on pace to soon exceed its 2014-15 budget of $19,500 and was asking for $12,800 to get through the rest of the year. Grand jury budgets over the prior four years had gradually increased to $19,500, the amount budgeted this fiscal year ending June 30.
This coming Tuesday, the board will weigh the additional funding. Supervisors will also consider an ordinance to change the pay structure for grand jurors. The proposed mileage reimbursement list does not include committee meetings, with those payments to grand jurors helping to cause the budget shortfall this year.
The board is set to meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the County Administration Building, 481 Fourth St.

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