Colton City Council to seek costs to outsource with county agencies

Source: Michael J. Sorba, The Sun, December 8, 2010

COLTON – The City Council will seek the costs to outsource police, fire, code enforcement and animal control services. Earlier this year, the same proposal was voted down 5-2. The new direction is likely the result of November’s election, which changed the makeup of the council, said resident and Planning Commissioner Gary Mitchell….The idea to outsource started early this year when the council unanimously decided to hire an outside firm to audit the police and fire departments. A budget the council unanimously approved in June suggested outsourcing would be one option to help close a $5 million deficit that would come with the loss of a utility users tax. The audits, presented to the council in July, estimated outsourcing public safety services or merging with neighboring fire agencies could save between $2.3 million and $8.2 million. Fire Chief Tom Hendrix and Police Chief Bob Miller have stated the figures in the audit are either inflated or based on general information available on the Internet, and don’t reflect the actual costs the city would pay if it contracted with outside agencies….The council is engaged in contract negotiations with all labor unions and is seeking concessions to minimize layoffs. But officials have said that if no agreements are met regarding concessions, 16 police positions, nine firefighters and eight employees from other departments will be laid off….Based on the audit’s estimates, and the fact they cost $169,870, the city needs to seek hard figures, said Councilman Frank Gonzales, also elected in November without safety union support….City Manager Rod Foster said Wednesday city staff was given authority to immediately contact San Bernardino County’s administrative office to obtain the costs.

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