Goleta becomes latest city to express concern
The Goleta City Council moved Tuesday to dispute price increases in its contract with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office — becoming the latest in a string of cities to do so this year.
Like a few other cities, Goleta contracts with the sheriff’s office for law enforcement services. As City Manager Michelle Greene noted during the council meeting, the cities that contract with the county sheriff’s office are all subject to the same form of contract.
Ms. Greene said the city is on track to pay $8.6 million for the current fiscal year, a 14.75% increase over what Goleta paid the previous year. And the proposed costs for the next fiscal year are $9.75 million.
Calling the increase “enormous and unprecedented,” she said the city engaged in a similar dispute last year, which subsequently lowered the cost owed.
“I have the utmost respect for our men and women in law enforcement, and I’ve always been so proud so it has nothing to do with their service to our city at all,” Mayor Paula Perotte said.
During its agenda meeting Tuesday evening, the Goleta City Council unanimously directed the city manager to submit a notice of dispute to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office for its law enforcement services.
Council members expressed concern with the costs and sheriff’s model for determining recomputation of compensation services.
“I find it troublesome that our total hours of service are staying the same, and yet more of the costs are being allocated to us,” Mr. Kyle Richards said.
Goleta will enter the fourth and final year of its contract with the sheriff’s office in July.
Given the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office is involved in active discussions regarding its contracts with cities, a spokesperson declined to comment on the issue.
City officials are looking at future contract options that are “more fixed cost-related, more predictable that provide stability,” Ms. Greene said.
The city councils of Carpinteria and Solvang have also recently moved to contest the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office receipt for law enforcement services.
In Solvang, Mayor Charlie Uhrig recused himself from closed discussions and the vote on the contract as he is still employed with the sheriff’s office.