With Halloween quickly approaching, local officials have expressed concern with the impact the event has on the county’s budget.
Due to the unsponsored nature of the holiday, financial responsibility for extra safety precautions falls on the county, which is already facing a substantial deficit. The increased officer presence, barricades and other precautions used to ensure safety in Isla Vista during Halloween require resources officials feel could be put to better use. The estimated cost is upwards of $1 million.
“We’ve got a really tough budgetary situation and Halloween is very expensive,” Brooks Firestone, the current 3rd District supervisor, said. “In the case of Fiesta, there’s extra security and they charge for the event, but in the case of I.V. there’s no one to charge ‑ no one puts on the event.”
According to Lt. Brian Olmstead of the Isla Vista Foot Patrol, most of the county’s Halloween spending goes toward keeping the streets of I.V. packed with deputies.
“By and far, probably 95 percent of cost is labor,” Olmstead said. “Personnel is the most expensive out of everything.”
The holiday also has long-term consequences in terms of legal violations and citation processes in the county. According to Olmstead, Halloween has an impact on the high cost of court processes and district attorney office finances.
Since the influx of out-of-towners contributes to the need for county resources, authorities favor the idea of localism as a solution.
“I think the only solution will be generated from the community of Isla Vista itself,” Firestone said. “I don’t know what the county can do.”
-Travis Miller contributed to this article