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Court Safety Funds Urged by Saltarelli

September 26, 1996

Supervisor Don Saltarelli has suggested that the county use money from a $100-million reserve account to pay for an airport-style security system at the central courthouse in Santa Ana.

Court administrators said the security system and 17 additional marshals are needed to detect weapons brought into the courthouse. But county officials said they are still struggling to pay for basic court operations and cannot afford the security system right now.

The reserve account was established in the wake of the December 1994 bankruptcy to fill the county's short-term cash needs between tax collection periods.

Without the fund, the county would have to borrow the money from a bank or issue bonds.

Saltarelli said the county should consider using the fund to cover the $700,000 security system as well as other critical court projects.

"I'm afraid it's a disaster waiting to happen," he said of the security issue.

"I consider this another form of a contingency fund," Saltarelli added. "I don't think we should sit and say we are broke when presented with a few hundred thousand dollars of critical safety items."

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