Two months ago, Sheriff Bill Brown suggested shutting down the Santa Maria branch jail to cut costs, but that possibility appeared off the table after county budget hearings on 6/13. The county executive office recommended the supervisors set aside nearly $1 million to keep the facility open during the next fiscal year. That would fund six full-time Sheriff’s deputies. Because of staffing shortages and medical issues, the Santa Maria jail was shut down for a total of 37 hours in the past year, requiring deputies to shuttle arrestees to the South County jail. In other news, after more than a year, the Deputy Sheriffs’ Association reached a tentative labor deal with the county, which includes a pay raise of 2 percent this year, 2 percent next year, and 3 percent the following year. It will go before the county supervisors on 6/21.