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Costa Mesa council to review budget for Police Department projects

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During their meeting Tuesday, Costa Mesa City Council members will review a proposed three-year plan to fund projects requested by the Police Department — such as replacing aging vehicles.
(File Photo)

A handful of projects and staffing changes delayed during Costa Mesa’s last budget discussion will boomerang back to the City Council on Tuesday.

Among the proposals is a strategy to fund a list of projects in the Police Department — some of which Chief Rob Sharpnack considered so pressing he cited them in a May email criticizing the budget development process.

“I have never asked for equipment we do not need,” Sharpnack, who has since announced he will retire in December, wrote in that message. “But by the same token, we are not getting the equipment we need.”

While those items were ultimately not included in the $174-million budget the council adopted in June, staff from the city finance and police departments worked to develop a three-year strategy to fund and implement the most critical requests.

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“We believe a phased approach will allow the city to address how to pay for these items, as well as set a realistic goal for implementation,” Police Capt. Bryan Glass said during a council study session last Tuesday.

The big-ticket item is the purchase and preparation of a mobile command vehicle, which the Police Department could deploy as a flexible base of operations during disaster and emergency responses or large-scale events.

Under the plan the council will review Tuesday, the city would seek grants to help cover the vehicle’s estimated $1.5-million price tag, according to a staff report.

Barring that, the city staff proposes to finance the vehicle — which would cost an estimated $180,000 annually over a 10-year period.

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For the current fiscal year, which runs through June 30, staff proposes appropriating $1.125 million to purchase five replacement vehicles and upgrade or replace the video systems in the city’s police cars.

In years two and three of the plan, staff proposes earmarking $230,000 annually to buy 10 more replacement vehicles, $220,000 to create a space to house the MCV and $555,000 for police vehicle computers.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the council also will review plans to reconfigure staffing in the information technology and development services departments.

Tuesday’s council meeting starts at 6 p.m. in City Hall, 77 Fair Drive.

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