By Brittany Hanson/Garden Grove Journal
At Tuesday’s meeting of the Stanton City Council, a proposal by the Sheriff’s Department to trim $637,653 from the police services budget was rejected. The city is looking to slash $1.1 million to help solve its fiscal crisis.
“I’m willing to issue an RFP [request for proposals] to merge with another city to get services if we need to,” said Mayor Carol Warren. “We will explore every avenue we can to provide this city with safety services.”
Lt. Jeff Passalaqua, who serves as de facto chief of police for Stanton, has been asked to come back to the July 24 meeting with deeper cuts that meet the $1.1 million goal.
Stanton does not have its own police or fire departments. It contracts with the Sheriff’s Department for police services ($8.6 million annually) and the Orange County Fire Authority for firefighting and paramedic service ($3.67 million).
Upwards of three-quarters of the city’s budget goes to public safety costs. A combination of the lingering effects of the Great Recession, the end of redevelopment and the failure of a proposed utility tax increase have created a financial “perfect storm” for the city.
The good news is that the reductions in police services asked has itself been reduced from $1.4 million. That’s because the Orange County Fire Authority, according to Mayor Pro Tem David Shawver, has expressed willingness to cut its cost by eliminating firefighter positions serving Stanton.
“We’re relying on the OCFA and OCSD to tell us what to do,” said Shawver. “You can’t say ‘we can’t make any changes,’ because we have to make cuts.”
The OCSD had offered to trim one investigator and two deputies as well as reduce the duty of a motor sergeant, but those reductions were about half of what Stanton is asking for.
The idea of cities sharing police forces isn’t unheard of. Police services in Yorba Linda, for example, are provided under contract by the City of Brea. Stanton could ask if Anaheim or Garden Grove would be interested in extending their police coverage to their smaller neighbor.