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Sheriff's contract could be shortened

Council to vote on renewing $18.5 million, one-year agreement

Posted: June 8, 2009 10:16 p.m.
Updated: June 9, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
The City Council will consider renewing Santa Clarita's $18.5 million contract with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department tonight.

If the council approves the proposed contract, the sheriff's department's services within the city of Santa Clarita will see neither cuts nor increases to funding.

The proposed contract would cost the city $100,000 more than last year because of a 3-percent cost-of-living increase, said city spokeswoman Gail Ortiz.

Aside from that increase, the contract is virtually identical to the previous agreement, except it would remain valid for one year instead of the usual five because of an ongoing dispute with the county over the costs of lawsuits filed against the department.

The change was recommended by the California Contract Cities Association, a group of 67 cities that contract for municipal services such as law enforcement.

The council's decision comes as the city eyes shaving 28 percent off of its budget amid falling sales tax revenues and global economic woes.

If approved, the city would need to renew the contract again by July 2010.

The city of Santa Clarita pays Los Angeles County to provide police services in the form of sheriff's deputies.

Deputies in the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station also patrol unincorporated county areas in the Santa Clarita Valley, which include Stevenson Ranch and Castaic, along with Acton, Agua Dulce and parts of Canyon Country.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department contracts with 41 cities throughout the county, including Santa Clarita.

The department also staffs the county's jail and court systems, which include the four jails in the Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic and the Santa Clarita courthouse.

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