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AMR Ambulance

An American Medical Response ambulance leaves the scene of a shooting in Guadalupe in this photo from Feb. 5. Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will consider extending the contract with AMR for a year while a study of the county’s emergency medical system is completed.

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors will be asked Tuesday to approve a contract extension with American Medical Response West to provide ambulance service for another year while a consultant completes a study of the county’s emergency medical services system.

Supervisors are scheduled to hear a report on the first phase of the study when they meet at 9 a.m. in the Board Hearing Room on the fourth floor of the County Administration Building at 105 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara.

Board members are also slated to hear a report on the 2019-20 budget for continued implementation of AB 109, the Public Safety Realignment Act, which transferred jurisdiction for certain prison inmates and parolees from the state to the counties.

Also on the agenda is a recommendation to accept the California Coastal Commission’s conditional certification of the county’s Coastal Zone accessory dwelling units ordinance as an amendment to the Local Coastal Program.

Emergency medical services

Back in December 2016, supervisors approved the term extension for the current contract with AMR, which expires Dec. 31 this year, but at the same time directed the staff to review the county’s emergency medical system.

Acting as the lead agency, the Public Health Department contracted with Fitch & Associates to conduct a three-phase review of the EMS.

The first phase, which the board will hear about Tuesday, was a comprehensive assessment that resulted in finding successes and challenges, with the goal of implementing what’s called a “Triple Aim” approach for “enhancing the patient experience, improving population health and reducing costs,” a staff report said.

The second phase, which is currently underway, will build on the strengths of the EMS and address the challenges identified in the first phase, while the third phase will provide a road map for implementing enhancements recommended in the second phase.

Those recommendations could include negotiating another contract with AMR or issuing a request for proposals for ambulance services, which could bring bids from other service providers.

Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors generally expressed support for budget proposals from the county’s justice-related departments during the second budget workshop Wednesday, although the sheriff was told he might not get everything he asked for. In the midst of the budget presentations, a bomb threat was made against what Sheriff Bill Brown said were “the building and several people,” which resulted in a 90-minute delay in the board returning from lunch.

Second and third phase reports are expected to be delivered by July 30, but to maintain consistent ambulance service while the recommended EMS enhancements are finalized and presented to the supervisors for approval, the staff is recommending the extension of AMR’s contract.

AB 109 programs

When voters approved Assembly Bill 109 in 2011, two additional populations of offenders were shifted from state to county responsibility — those on post-release community supervision, or PRCS, and those referred to by the state as NX3, for non-violent, non-serious, non-sex offenders, and by the county as PSS, for post-sentence supervision.

Planning for implementing the realignment in Santa Barbara County is overseen by the Community Corrections Partnership, which has developed revisions and expansions to the sheriff’s treatment program, the public defender’s re-entry services and the district attorney’s victim services.

Supervisors will hear about the fully state-funded plan that will have a nearly $517,000 one-time cost and ongoing annual cost of more than $14 million.

Accessory dwelling units

Santa Barbara County officials hope to cut county government’s greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the number of employees commuting to work alone and increasing the number using greener transportation and working remotely, but some supervisors questioned how much impact the effort would have.

In August 2018, supervisors approved an amendment to the Local Coastal Program to regulate accessory dwelling units — sometimes referred to as granny houses — and the California Coastal Commission in March certified the amendment provided certain conditions are agreed to by the county.

A staff report said the modifications suggested by the commission are not significant policy or text changes to the amendment, so staff is recommending the board accept the modifications.

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