Laguna Woods City Council unanimously approved a memorandum to join 12 other Orange County cities in a study that will analyze the cost and efficiency of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department contracts.
Amid rises in OCSD costs, the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Department’s Contract and Law Enforcement Cost and Efficiency Study will use an independent group to contract the study, Laguna Woods City Manager Chris Macon said during the Sept. 20 City Council meeting.
Expected to take at least one year to receive the findings, the study will delve into various options and recommendations to improve efficiencies and control costs.
“The goal of (the study is) ensuring long-term sustainability of the sheriff’s individual and aggregate contract-law enforcement services,” Macon said. “So this is about improving the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the existing services provided by the sheriff’s department.”
Over the last 10 fiscal years, OCSD costs have risen on average by 33 percent, and 26 percent of the increase has occurred in the past five years, according to a city staff report. In Laguna Woods, OSCD costs account for nearly half of the city’s total expenditures, with fiscal year 2017-18 at 49.3 percent and fiscal year 2018-19 projected at 51 percent, Macon said.
“For the city, law enforcement costs are the single largest expenditure in our general fund operating budget,” Macon said.
Mission Viejo is spearheading the study efforts, including choosing the company that will conduct the study, Macon said. Every city that contracts with OCSD is now part of the memorandum, including neighboring Aliso Viejo, Laguna Hills and Lake Forest.
The cost of the study will be divided by population size, and Laguna Woods is projected to cover $7,600 of the estimated $300,000 study, Macon said. City Council approved $10,000 to go toward the study, in case the cost increases, he said.
Smoking and tobacco sales
The City Council discussed updating the smoking and tobacco regulations, including sales regulations.
The city already has regulations in place that limit where people can smoke traditional, combustible cigarettes and prohibit smoking in common areas, within 20 feet of windows and doors, and on unenclosed patios and balconies. However, there no regulations regarding e-cigarettes or other electronic smoking devices, a city staff report stated.
“When I look at this issue, I look at the public-health issue of preserving the health of our…