Costa Mesa to explore sharing services

COSTA MESA — The city announced Thursday that it is formally exploring partnerships with Newport Beach and Huntington Beach to share multiple services.

Costa Mesa is looking into sharing the SWAT team, emergency dispatch, animal control and other services, Costa Mesa city officials announced Thursday.

Many of the ideas have been publicly discussed this year as possible options for the cash-strapped city.

“The idea of sharing municipal services with our neighboring cities has been talked about for years, but with the recent fiscal challenges, it has been given added urgency,” said city spokesman William Lobdell. “Costa Mesa is looking at all avenues to become more efficient, including teaming up with Newport Beach and Huntington Beach and outsourcing where appropriate.”

In response to a lawsuit by the Costa Mesa City Employees Assn., an Orange County Superior Court judge ruled Monday that the city could only outsource its services to other public agencies — at least until the case is heard.

The lawsuit claims that that state code prohibits the city from outsourcing a number of its workers’ jobs to private companies. Judge Tam Nomoto Schumann ordered an injunction on the city from outsourcing to the private sector until there’s a resolution to the lawsuit.

Costa Mesa will continue its work with Management Partners Inc., the consultants brought in earlier this year to assist in restructuring the Police Department. Costa Mesa, Newport and Huntington will each pay $27,225 to the company.

Management Partners will examine the effects of the cities sharing SWAT, jail, animal control and dispatch, along with lifeguard services for the beach cities. The study is expected to last five months.

The study had been months in the making, long before the court order handed down Monday, Lobdell said.