Menifee City Council hears cost increases in police department dispatch contract with Murrieta

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The cost for establishing the Menifee Police Department has risen to date, but that increase is offset by greater savings in the police and fire protection contracts, the Menifee City council learned at the regular Wednesday, Jan. 8, city council meeting.

The council, with councilmember Dean Deines absent, heard the police department budget update by Deputy City Manager Rochelle Clayton on the discussion agenda.

The cost increases revolved around the current joint dispatch full cost recovery contract with the Murrieta Police Department entered into Aug. 21. The contract calls for Menifee to pay the cost for all added employees, equipment and infrastructure to house the additional dispatchers. The cost of that equipment was “undetermined” at the signing of the contract. The known costs for year one in the contract totaled $910,163, which was close to the budgeted amount.

She said the cost increase was approximately $620,000 for additional equipment and hardware costs for four Motorola PSEC Complaint dispatch consoles and associated software. She said Murrieta’s cost for the updated consoles was approximately $2.1 million. Clayton also said if the city had not entered into the dispatch contract with Murrieta the cost for their own dispatch department would have exceeded $4 million.

“Far, far more,” Clayton said.

Adding in the initially “unknown” cost for the consoles to the original budget amount of $910,162.82 was $616,524, bringing the first year’s cost now up to $1,526,686.82, Clayton said. The police department’s second- and third-year budgets of $1,877,624.40 and $1,810,754.02 respectively remain the same with other equipment, hardware and software still unknown.

She said the cost of the earthquake refitting of the new police department headquarters, now located at the old city hall, also increased by some $280,000 more than the budget allowed. That cost added in with the additional police department’s dispatch equipment costs brought the total police department first year cost increases to approximately $900,000, still close to budget amount.

Even though the unknown increases in the police departments three-year startup costs, Clayton said those increases will be made up from decreases in the budgeted Cal Fire and Riverside Sheriff’s contract costs.

“The sheriff’s budget total for fiscal year 2019-2020 is just over $15,775 million. However, due to some reduced services as authorized, the projected savings based on year-to-date actual expenditures, is nearly $1.5 million for the fiscal year. With the projected savings, a transfer from the public safety professional services (contract) account to the respective expenditure accounts necessary to offset the increased costs, there is no need for a budget appropriations increase and the total Public Safety budget will remain within budget.” Clayton said in her report. “There is no fiscal impact to the General Fund or Measure DD Fund; no additional appropriation is required.”

Showing the overall cost savings, the city’s own police department may be saving in fiscal year 2020-2021 after it opens, Clayton presented a comparison of costs based on 200 patrol hours per day expected in that year. The cost table presented showed the cost of the city police department for the fiscal year to be $14,920,082 while the contracted Sheriff Department anticipated patrol cost would be $21,511,707 based on 200 hours patrol time. Total savings would amount to $6,691,625 for the city.

The council also learned the building renovations at the police headquarters continues with the painting and flooring complete, the office furniture installed, with the cubicles, tables and chairs coming this week and the move in anticipated early in February.

The department has taken possession of seven vehicles, three executive cars and four community service trucks. Also, two Ford 150 patrol trucks being outfitted with emergency equipment with 23 additional vehicles scheduled to arrive in March.

Earlier the council put the spotlight on the New Hub Auto Service at 29683 New Hub Drive, Suite B, in Menifee as the business of the month with a free 30-second commercial afforded the enterprise. Accepting the award and commercial video was Rafael Cano, owner of the business.

Appearing in the video was service manager Jason Hemphill. The firm has helped the Menifee Boys and Girls Club, the Salvation Army and the Oasis to help troubled youth.

Dawn Smith, one of the founders of the Menifee Arts Council and active in many community affairs even before Menifee became a city, was honored as Menifee’s Outstanding Citizen of the Month.

Tony Ault can be reached by email at tault@reedermedia.com.