Danville officials have given the go-ahead to a consultant to begin examining the cost of police services to the town and the possibility of contracting those services from elsewhere. At their March 3 meeting, members of the Danville Town Council approved a contract with Matrix Consulting Group to begin the process.
Matrix spokesman Byron Pipkin spoke with the council about the issue and explained how they would work.
"We will interview people within management positions in the city. We'll talk to Town Council and will look at current costs for police services. We won't have any preconceived notions of what will be better. We'll look at what you're getting for your money," he stated.
One area they look at is a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) between the Town of Danville and the cities of Orinda and Lafayette. They will compare the costs of contracting solely with the city and sharing the costs between the three proposed members of the JPA.
The study is expected to take around 16 weeks, as the consultants will be speaking with town employees as well as staff from three other cities.
"Are we going to get information through San Ramon, who recently went through this, for cost comparison?" asked Mayor Newell Arnerich.
Town Manager Joe Calabrigo informed the council that San Ramon is just one of the cities that they will be looking at in the study.
Councilman Mike Shimansky expressed some concerns about limiting the study to a JPA. Calabrigo explained that the scope of the study would be broader.
"Let me be clear," Calabrigo said. "We jointly solicited a proposal to do three separate studies. The cost savings come from all three agencies contracting with the same provider. We are not wedded to anything that Lafayette or Orinda might do."
Council members unanimously approved the plan.
After the meeting, Calabrigo explained that taking out the contract with Matrix is no reflection on the town's satisfaction with the service provided by the Sheriff's Department.
"They've always provided a very excellent level of service and we've been very happy with that. Nevertheless we feel compelled from time to time to look at our service delivery model to see if we are getting the best service for our dollars," he said.
This will be the fourth time in the past 27 years that the town has conducted an analysis of the police service contract. Calabrigo said it's just good fiscal policy.
"This is just something that gets done periodically, when you're spending $6 million out of a $25 million budget on a single contract. It's also cost effective and a wise expenditure of our taxpayer's dollars," he stated.
The study is expected to be completed in mid-summer, at which time Calabrigo said the council will examine the findings and make a determination about whether the contract with the Sheriff's Department makes the most sense or if it would be time to contract elsewhere.