League of Women Voters forum centers on shared services trend.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
From the cash-strapped boroughs of New Jersey to the budget-squeezed Bay Area cities, the topic of consolidating services is one that, according to League of Women Voters board member Linda Agerbak, “comes [with] uncertainty… But also opens up new possibilities.”
The League held its monthly lunch-and-learn forum April 13, with local leaders discussing the issue of shared services.
“There is a very positive trend when it comes to shared services in Monterey County,” says Local Agency Formation Commission Executive Officer Kate McKenna. “The sharing of local governments is consistent with the larger trend throughout California.”
Though Monterey County has a healthy list of examples when it comes to consolidation and joint powers agreements, when the conversation turns to public safety – sharing police and fire services, for example – stakeholders are quick to hit the brakes. Making matters more complicated is the amount of money involved with emergency services, sometimes as much as 50 percent of a city budget.
The Carmel and Monterey Fire Departments’ partnership is one example of shared service success on a large scale. Renewed yearly, the agreement allows Carmel to benefit from Monterey’s fire chief, administrative support and training – with Carmel now looking into transferring personnel services, too.