Arroyo Grande police to relocate while station is remodeled

acornejo@thetribunenews.comOctober 7, 2013 

Arroyo Grande Police Station.

DAVID MIDDLECAMP — dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

The Arroyo Grande Police Department would be temporarily moved to the Woman’s Club Community Center and dispatch services would be provided by the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office, should the City Council approve the plan Tuesday night.

The relocation is needed to allow for a $1.4 million remodel of the station at North Halcyon Road. That cost includes the purchase of the adjacent property from the VCA Animal Hospital for $325,000 to add secured parking for police employees.

Contracting dispatch services with the Sheriff’s Office will be temporary, but city leaders are working to craft a plan that would make it permanent.

The remodel is being done as a short-term fix of the station’s aging facilities after Arroyo Grande voters rejected two bond efforts to raise the money needed to build a new one.

“Basically the intent of this project, since we were unsuccessful in securing the funds needed to construct a new building, is to go forward with the remodel and then revisit the need for a new station in a five- to 10-year period,” City Manager Steve Adams said.

The move would happen in late February. The 22 groups or class meetings typically held at the Woman’s Club Community Center will be relocated during the Police Department’s eight-month stay.

The city has tentative agreements in place with St. John’s Lutheran Church, the South County Regional Center and the city of Pismo Beach to host those activities on a temporary basis.

Adams said that the city is offering to pay $6,000 in additional costs to help minimize the impact on the various displaced groups such as the Lion’s Club, bridge club and various senior organizations.

The temporary use of the Sheriff’s Office dispatch center will cost $40,000, which would be paid for from the city’s general fund.

An additional $10,000 will be spent in reimbursing dispatch employees for the increased mileage they will face — about 40 miles round-trip.

Adams said that the majority of the money, $28,800, will be spent on one-time upgrades to the dispatch center that will be needed should a future contract be negotiated with the Sheriff’s Office for ongoing dispatch services.

In June, the county’s civil grand jury recommended that Arroyo Grande and Grover Beach consider combining their police and fire dispatch systems and contracting with the county Sheriff's Office to provide dispatch services.

Arroyo Grande’s efforts to consolidate dispatch services with other surrounding cities stalled.

For now, dispatch employees will remain city employees. Should a permanent agreement be reached, those employees would become county employees working for the Sheriff’s Office, Police Chief Steve Annibali said.

The city currently employs four full-time dispatchers, one part-time dispatcher and a records dispatch supervisor who fills in when needed, Annibali said.

“The beauty of this temporary move with the remodel is that we will be able to actually have a real-time test and evaluate how all of this works,” he said. “We have always believed it will and have tried to consolidate with anybody we could. I truly believe this is in the best interest of our citizens.”

The City Council will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the council chambers at 215 E. Branch Road.

Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939. Stay updated by following @a_cornejo on Twitter.

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