The Grover Beach City Council is not interested in contracting with Arroyo Grande for police services.
But council members said they would be willing to meet jointly with the Arroyo Grande City Council to discuss combining their two departments.
“We can’t have contracting and consolidation in the same discussion because they are two different things,” Grover Beach Councilwoman Phyllis Molnar said Tuesday.
The Arroyo Grande council in May decided to see if Grover Beach would be interested in meeting to discuss the idea of consolidation.
Doing so could save an estimated $850,000 to $1.13 million, according to a cost analysis by Arroyo Grande Police Chief Steve Annibali. Start-up costs for a combined department are estimated at $106,700.
Annibali said in May that both departments have vacant positions and upcoming potential retirements that could allow them to combine with one or two layoffs at most.
A combined department could have 38 sworn officers, 15 nonsworn employees and 14 part-time positions.
Arroyo Grande City Manager Steve Adams sent a letter to Grover Beach in May that mentions both providing contract services to Grover Beach and consolidating police departments.
The Grover Beach council directed City Manager Bob Perrault to write back and ask Arroyo Grande to clarify its intentions.
Grover Beach Mayor John Shoals also reiterated that combining its police and fire dispatch services with Arroyo Grande’s remains a priority.
Doing so has been a goal of the Five Cities Fire Authority — the joint Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach and Oceano department.
Fire officials say it would improve communication, increase the number of dispatchers working at one time and help resolve problems caused by the current setup, with two separate dispatch centers handling calls for one agency.