How to solve the California municipal budget crisis: Outsource

The city of San Carlos is outsourcing its police force to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department. San Carlos is a small city with about 28,000 people. At $6.8 million per year, outsourcing police services will save the city $2 Million annually. On its website, the city has notes on its budget. Last year, the police services accounted for approximately 31% of general fund expenses, but will decrease to 25% if the plan goes through. State law prevents the Sheriff’s Department from passing on fee increases to the city except if they relate to costs of patrolling or administering the contract. The city seems to be doing more of the right things, such as creating a second benefit tier for new employees, and winning pay reductions from management employees. Cities in California should look to San Carlos’ example and outsource city services wherever possible.


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