Waste, Fraud & Mismanagement:Your Tax Dollars at Work
State Spending $46,000 a Month on Bottled Water for Prisoners

The Sacramento Bee reports that a Northern California prison is spending $46,000 a month on bottled water for inmates and staff.

Deuel Vocational Institution, just outside Tracy, recently installed a $32 million water treatment plant outside the facility to provide “the cleanest, best water in the state” to the 2,300 inmates and 1,000 employees. However, the 2010 project has not worked as expected, as its brine concentrator is unreliable and difficult to fix.

When the concentrator is down, salts and metals accumulate to such a level that it violates state standards for wastewater discharge.

The recently enacted state budget includes $2 million to begin designing a brine concentration system with a total project cost of $32 million, expected to be completed by 2021.

To deliver water to inmates when the concentration system is down, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has spent $417,000 on bottled water since October.

A maintenance workers’ union representative called the problem a “debacle” that could have easily been solved by keeping more parts on hand to repair the system.

The Bee noted the state corrections department has been fined several times by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board for water discharge problems at the prison since 2014. Last year, the department paid a $2.3 million penalty to resolve the citations.

Modesto Needs to Repay $1.9 Million in Federal Housing Money, Audit Finds. The Modesto Bee reports that a federal audit faults Modesto for how it spent federal housing money, and recommends the city repay the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development nearly $258,000 and explain how it spent an additional $1.69 million or repay that money as well.

The Office of the Inspector General released the federal audit of Modesto’s community development block grant on July 5. The federal government provides Modesto with approximately $1.8 million annually, which the city spends to help low- and moderate-income residents and neighborhoods.

The audit for 2015-16 and 2016-17 found the city “did not follow HUD's and its own requirements for its rental and homeowner rehabilitation projects ... provided false information to HUD, (and) spent HUD funds inefficiently."

Other findings:

City officials said the repayment cannot come from the federal money, and must come from the city’s general fund.



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