PASO ROBLES — Police Chief Ty Lewis told the City Council his force is understaffed by about 20 officers.
Lewis presented the “Police Department Strategic Plan and Workload Analysis” to Council at Tuesday night’s regular meeting. As part of the Council’s 5-0 vote on the matter, a community workshop will be scheduled to explore options for addressing the staffing shortages and costs.
The costs of added staffing were high on the Council’s list of concerns.
Lewis explained that based on the analysis the department should have between 55 and 59 officers to adequately serve the community. Currently, the department has 36 on the force.
“I’m certainly in favor of exploring this further, there is no question about it,” Councilmember John Hamon said. “Obviously what I am looking for in future meetings here is basically a cost-benefit analysis. Fifty-nine is great and that is what you want to see, but we may not be able to afford that.”
City Manager Tom Frutchey said the City would be looking at the financial aspect of bolstering the police department’s ranks.
Lewis said that the department responds to 41,000 calls for service a year and that their average response time “across all calls” is 15 minutes.
“In short our department has become mostly reactionary,” Lewis said.
Lewis had the backing of all six members of the public who spoke, including people representing Travel Paso, the Downtown Paso Robles Main Street Association and business owners.
It would take roughly two years for the department to add 20 officers, according to Lewis, who added that it is a lengthy process to bring in new officers.
Council accepted the report and a community workshop will be scheduled at a later date.
In other matters, Council:
• Eliminating Overdue Fines at the Paso Robles City Library — approved: (1) eliminating overdue fines at the Paso Robles City Library; (2) deleting overdue material fines from the City’s Comprehensive Fee Schedule; and (3) enabling Library patrons to request that any existing overdue fines be waived from their record.
• Allocation of SB1 Funds for Fiscal Year 2019-20 — approved directing FY 2019-20 SB 1 funds totaling $558,000 be used for four street projects scheduled to be completed in 2019: 10th Street – Spring to Vine Street, 6th Street – Spring to Pine Street, 9th Street – Pine to Park Street, and Park Street – 6th to 9th Street.
• Construction Contract for the 2019 Annual Sidewalk Repair Project — authorized the City Manager to enter into a contract with G. Sosa Construction for $100,000, which includes added sidewalk locations, and authorizes the use of a $25,000 construction contingency for the project, as allowed by the City’s Purchasing Policy, for the total construction budget of $125,000.
• Construction Contract for the Airport Terminal Patio Roof Project — authorized the City Manager to enter into a contract with BC Construction and Electric for $165,769, and authorized the use of a 10% contingency for the project of $16,577, for a total construction budget of $182,346.
• City Manager Compensation and a Second Amendment to Employment Agreement — approved a one-time ratification incentive of $1,000 to the City Manager, consistent with the Wage and Benefit Summary with the Unrepresented Confidential, Professional & Management group (MGMT); and authorized the Mayor to execute a second amendment to the City Manager’s Employment Agreement to authorize future wage adjustments consistent with the MGMT group.
• Ratifying the Sale of 625 Riverside Avenue — approved the sale of city-owned property 625 Riverside Avenue. The City sold the property to the Weyrick Family Trust at fair market value for $1,528,000, completing all steps to the transaction in July of 2018.
• Second Reading of Ordinance Transitioning to a By-District Council Election System, the Preferred District Map and Election Sequencing — read, by title only, and adopt an Ordinance approving the Council district boundary map and sequencing of district elections, thereby transitioning the City of Paso Robles to a by-district election system.
• Centennial Pool Complex Gas Line Replacement — authorized the City Manager to increase an existing Purchase Order from $35,000 to $40,000, for the replacement of the Centennial Pool complex gas line, the work will be performed by Newton Construction & Management, Inc.
• Groundwater Sustainability Plan Chapters 5-8 — approved GSA Resolution No. 19-XXX acknowledging that the Groundwater Sustainability Agency Board has received and filed draft Chapters 5 through 8 of the Groundwater Sustainability Plan, including any desired changes and/or comments.
• Oak Tree Removal Permit — authorized the removal of a diseased Coastal Live Oak in City Park and replacing it with a 36-inch box Coastal Live Oak in City Park.
• Oak Tree Removal Permit for 2036 Oak Street — authorized the removal of one Blue Oak tree, based on the Arborist report concluding that the tree is in poor condition and poses a risk of failure, and require one 1.5-inch diameter Blue Oak be planted on site at the direction of the Arborist.
The next regular meeting of the City Council will be on May 7.