Lake Elsinore and Wildomar will be charged more for police services after Riverside County supervisors agreed Tuesday to hike rates charged to cities that contract with the county's sheriff's department.
The rate increases are needed to recoup the higher costs incurred by the department to provide services over the last year, according to Riverside County Undersheriff Colleen Walker.
“We only capture the full, actual costs,'' she told the Board of Supervisors. “The state Government Code prohibits us from making a profit.''
Lake Elsinore and Wildomar are among the 17 Riverside County cities that contract with the sheriff's department.
The city of Wildomar is currently in the process of finishing next year’s budget. The city had hoped to save more than $18,000 for police services as compared to last year, but the latest news has caused some budget reworking.
“This will change the projected savings … ,” said Wildomar Assistant City Manager Gary Nordquist, noting that he will refine the next year’s projections over the upcoming days as the county releases additional accounting information. “Hopefully we will be able to retain at least the $18K reduction.”
In its revised 2010-11 budget, Wildomar is spending $3,719,700 million for police services.
In its first-draft 2011-12 budget – prior to this week’s news -- the city had expected to spend $3,701,000 for law enforcement.
According to the 2010-11 mid-year budget status report for Lake Elsinore, the city is spending $9,137,160 for law enforcement services through the sheriff’s department.
The city is holding a public budget workshop Thursday at 5 p.m. in the Cultural Center on Main Street to discuss its 2011-12 plans, including police services.
County Supervisor Jeff Stone said Tuesday he felt certain that next year cities, would see their costs stay flat or even decline, in part due to the county's unilateral imposition Monday of contract terms on the 3,500-member Riverside Sheriffs' Association, which represents deputies.
The union and county administrators have been in talks since January over a new collective bargaining agreement, but negotiations snagged in recent weeks, resulting in the county declaring an impasse.
The terms imposed by the Executive Office call for a 10 percent cut in salary and benefits, as well as a freeze on merit pay raises.
The terms remain in effect for a year, unless a compromise is reached after a resumption in negotiations.
Under the revised rate schedule approved by the board Tuesday, the cost of a sheriff's patrol deputy will rise from $121.97 per hour to $125.37, a 2.8 percent jump from the previous year.
The cost of a sheriff's patrol corporal will increase from $131.94 to $134.37 per hour, or about 2 percent; a sheriff's lieutenant from $93.98 to $98.50 per hour, or 4.8 percent; and a sheriff's captain from $108.61 to $111.13, about 2 percent.
According to sheriff's officials, the cost of staff benefits, support and equipment are priced into the figures.
The news comes during the same week that that calls for a gradual decrease in the number of deputies patrolling unincorporated areas that surround contract cities like Lake Elsinore and Wildomar.
The Lake Elsinore Sheriff’s Station services approximately 200 square-miles of unincorporated area around Lake Elsinore and Wildomar.
“We won't give out the detail of that breakdown of information until further along in the process and we know more,” Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Cpl. Courtney Donowho said in an email statement. “The layoffs will be phased over the summer after the exact budget cut is finalized in mid-June by the Board of Supervisors.
“The cuts cover all unincorporated areas regardless of which station they are operating out of,” Donowho continued. --City News Service contributed to this report.