The Half Moon Bay City Council unanimously approved a bevy of new contracts on Tuesday night that would switch service providers for city law enforcement, recreation and local public-access television.
The new outsourcing deals would hire the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office to replace the city's police department and the city of San Carlos to take over local recreation activities and facilities. In conjunction with county officials, Half Moon Bay leaders also signed a contract for Pacifica Community Television to be the new public broadcast station for the Coastside.
For months, council members and city staff had been investigating plans to outsource the city police and recreation as a way to find significant budget savings. Staff reports estimated the total savings could amount to $720,000.
On Tuesday night, City leaders indicated they were heartbroken to dissemble two city departments, but they pledged that the new contract agencies would provide services on par if not better than before. The county board of supervisors approved the same contract earlier in the day.
"We've gone over and over this with a fine-toothed comb. None of us ever wanted to in this situation and we have no choice," said Councilman John Muller. "I feel like the bottom's passed and we're going up from here."
The new five-year contract with the Sheriff's Office would provide six sworn deputies for Half Moon Bay, three of whom would be carried over from the city's current police force.
The new team would continue the same service levels as the city police, posting two officers in Half Moon Bay during the daytime hours and operating a walk-in command center at the Shoreline Station. At night, only one deputy would be stationed to respond to city calls, but other officers would be available on the Coastside for backup if needed.
The Sheriff's Office already has a large presence on the Coastside with 18 deputies, four sergeants and a commanding lieutenant who together work out of the Moss Beach substation. In the new contract, Sheriff's officials promised they would not charge the city for special detective work, laboratory costs or jailing fees - lowering Half Moon Bay's police expenses by as much as $100,000 a year, according to city officials. Sheriff's officials have also assured city representatives they would support local athletic leagues and provide a school resource officer.
"We get an outstanding contract and outstanding service for the community," summarized Mayor Naomi Patridge. "But I'm very sentimental for our police."
The city police would fully transfer over to the Sheriff at the end of the day on June 11. Sheriff Greg Munks will formally swear in former police squad as county deputies on June 14.
On the same evening, the council also signed a two-year contract with San Carlos for recreation services that will begin on July 15.
The recreation agreement puts the larger Bayside city in charge of all Half Moon Bay seasonal recreation activities and event centers, including the Ted Adcock Community / Senior Center and Smith Field. Half Moon Bay would still employ some part-time recreation staff, but the department and its 40 vendors would be managed by San Carlos.
For its role in the deal, the city of San Carlos would take the revenues from class fees and facility rentals.
The third contract signed on Tuesday evening, council members chose a new public TV station for the Coastside and replaced Mid-Coast Television, the public broadcaster that has served the area for 25 years.
City leaders thanked MCTV officials, but they indicated they believed the Pacifica station could provide better service and programming.
"This has been a fair and open process, and that's made it easy for us on the dais," Patridge said.
Per the contract, Pacifica TV will take over public broadcasting on the Coastside in September.