The Guadalupe City Council on Tuesday discussed a proposal to restructure the Department of Public Safety in an effort to improve efficiency and create new revenue streams.
Public Safety Director Michael Cash, who oversees both the Police Department and Fire Department, said the city should consider an organizational restructure of the department that would include hiring additional personnel, eliminating certain vacant positions and instituting various programs, like a volunteer patrol.
Cash suggested a three-phase reorganization process that would take place over two years. The first phase would involve adding a police sergeant, hiring two contract officers to serve at the Santa Maria Public Airport and hiring three fire engineers/code compliance officers.
Cash said the proposed reorganization would not result in the need for additional general fund money as it merely moves resources around to where they can most effectively be used.
The proposed reorganization would prioritize code compliance, Cash said.
“Code compliance is making sure our place looks good,” he said. “In police work, we call it the ‘broken window syndrome.’ If you have a house [and] the window is broken and no one takes care of it, that house begins to deteriorate because no one’s doing anything about it.”
Code compliance fines would provide revenue to support additional youth and public safety programs, Cash said.
On Tuesday, the City Council asked Interim City Manager Bob Perrault to look into scheduling a work-study session to discuss the proposal in more detail.
In other business, the City Council asked the city staff to look into all available funds, including development fees from the Pasadera project, that could be used to pay rent for the Guadalupe Library.
The council also requested additional information about the use of past Pasadera development fees for the library’s rent.
Over the past two years, the city has relied partially on the county to provide funds for the library’s rent, said Amelia Villegas, human resources director.
During the 2017-18 fiscal year, the city paid $5,000, or three months' rent, and the county paid $15,000 for the remaining nine months. For the 2018-19 fiscal year, Guadalupe paid $7,408 for five months’ rent while the county covered the remaining seven months.
Santa Maria Public Library Director Mary Housel — who also oversees library branches in Guadalupe, Orcutt, Los Alamos and Cuyama — said the city requested additional money from the county to assist with the roughly $23,000 in rent needed for the following fiscal year but will not know if funds are ultimately approved until June.
City officials anticipate moving the library to LeRoy Park community center after its renovation, which is expected to take around three years.
Housel said the library gets around 250 visitors a week and is relied upon for many for resources like internet service.
Councilman Tony Ramirez said it was the council’s responsibility to make sure the community had access to the resources at the library.