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Towns face steep hike in costs for services of Sheriff's Office

Original post made on May 6, 2009

A sharp rise in costs for police patrols in Portola Valley is likely for the budget year that begins July 1, with the increases driven largely by higher costs for benefits package for Sheriff's Office deputies.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, May 6, 2009, 10:41 AM

Comments (15)

Posted by Utter McKinley, a resident of Portola Valley: other
on May 6, 2009 at 12:27 pm

Now the Los tranco Water District is starting to look a little selfish, aren't they, what with taking up all of those taxpayer dollars that should be distributed to meet our Town's school or community service needs.


Posted by Uhh, Ok!, a resident of another community
on May 6, 2009 at 5:13 pm

$10,000.00 for the weeds and "young indigenous plants." Don't even know where to start with this one. The comedy value alone of this little tid bit is just priceless.


Posted by moneywise, a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on May 6, 2009 at 6:10 pm

Even with the increases in Sheriff's costs,what PV and Woodside pay is a bargain compared to what Atherton has to shell out for its own PD.


Posted by Angela Hey, a resident of Portola Valley: Brookside Park
on May 6, 2009 at 9:43 pm

I am all for paying police properly and giving them benefits. It's a travesty that in this country police have to beg by telephoning for donations or pleading citizens to go to a police ball. Everything the police need - pensions, health care, equipment should be fully funded by appropriate governments.


Posted by Just think about it, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 6, 2009 at 11:09 pm

Pretty words, Angela. In an ideal world, I would even support your position.

But what about the real world? What about a police officer who has worked since the age of 20, who now makes $112,000 a year, and now decides to retire at the age of 50, guaranteed to get 90 percent of his salary annually (approx. $102,000) for the rest of his life, courtesy of taxpayers -- many who will never be able to retire because they have no decent pension options, or who will retire at 65 or 70 or 75 and live on a paltry fixed income?

In an ideal world, I would love to support the retirement of people who have been good public employees. But in the real world, I know that not only will I never be able to retire, but that my expectations of what my city government -- and county and state governments -- will be able to provide in terms of services to me and my fellow taxpaying citizens must continue to sink. Public services will steadily decrease because in order to continue funding ideal annual salary increases and ideal pension benefits for public employees, there will be steadily diminishing dollars to pay for the services that these good employees are supposed to be providing to the public.

Can you understand that there is something wrong with this picture? Can you figure out that something's got to change or, eventually, the public will be footing the bill for keeping people employed and happily retired while the money left over will barely be enough to keep the lights on in city hall? Do you know what the word "unsustainable" means?


Posted by Charles, a resident of Portola Valley: other
on May 7, 2009 at 2:19 am

The answer is simple. We need to cut back on patrol cars! All they do here is give people tickets for California stops at Alpine and Portola and for doing 45 in the 35.


Posted by WOW, a resident of another community
on May 7, 2009 at 7:25 am

Just another suburb? 10,000 for a weed checker? What's next - - Screw cap wine, unripened brie, polyester. Now this is a crisis.


Posted by Too bad, a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on May 7, 2009 at 6:33 pm

Where do you think all the money goes after tickets are written? For weeds and "young indigenous plants. Listen to yourselves. Many cities both small and big are going bankrupt, law enforcement and fire agencies across the county are cutting staff and you are worried about weeds.

From what I understand, Half Moon Bay and Millbrae would love it if the Sheriff's Office moved in and patrolled their streets. Woodside and PV both get great service from the deputies who patrol their town. They are ordered to give tickets, and get a lot of BS when a local feels he or she is immune because they live on several acres and are friends with important people.

You get what you pay for, and how I interrupted this article was that the towns of Woodside and PV think they can get better law enforcement services. Well, happy hunting!

From a concerned citizen and life-long resident of Woodside.


Posted by Godfather, a resident of another community
on May 7, 2009 at 7:47 pm

Town Manager Angela Howard, you have no business representing the citizens of PV & Woodside with the statements I have just read. $569,000 a year for law enforcement services from the Sheriff's Office, that is cheap at the price. For over 30 plus years the citizens of PV & Woodside have never received better service from the Sheriff's Office. You talk about the $10,000 fee to pay someone to check on weeds? You talk about 22 toilets where there used to 4? If you think you can obtain a better law enforcement agency for a cheaper price, knock yourself out.
Some residents complain about getting traffic citations for a California stop or 10 miles over the posted speed limit. PV & Woodside pay for a complete package for law enforcement. Some of those citizens think they are above and beyond getting these citation because of where they live!!! Ms. Howard and other residents that feel the way you do better get a life in the real world.


Posted by Oh please, a resident of Woodside: other
on May 8, 2009 at 11:09 am

Angela Howard isn't questioning whether the service provided by the sheriff's office is adequate, so give up the red herring already, please.

The issue is: The town (and probably Woodside as well) is going to be asked to increase payment to the sheriff's office by 27 percent -- 27 percent!!! -- and the increase is mostly because of rising costs of employee costs.

You want to talk about living in the real world? In the real world, this kind of situation is not only unreasonable, it's not sustainable.


Posted by Nick, a resident of Woodside: other
on May 8, 2009 at 9:37 pm

Frankly, the Sheriff's Office has not charged PV actual cost for service for quite some time. Do we think when large storms and deadly vehicle accidents occur only two paid patrol units are on the scene, no numerous Sheriff cars respond at no cost to the Town. Good luck finding a cheaper price.


Posted by I Agree, a resident of Woodside: other
on May 9, 2009 at 12:11 am

I agree with Nick. There is also no mention of the investigative services provided by the Sheriff, etc. A new police department would cost many times the paltry sum paid for Sheriff services.


Posted by Just the facts, a resident of Portola Valley: Portola Valley Ranch
on May 11, 2009 at 12:38 pm

It seems that people with an interest in not changing compensation and benefits for sheriff officers have taken to posting here, because the last few posts have nothing to do with the issue. The investigative services and the quality of services provided by the sheriff department are not being questioned. To throw those "arguments" into this discussion is to blow smoke.

The issue, as I see it, is employee costs, and the question: have they gotten so out of control that during economic hard times they've become too much of a burden on the public pocket book? I believe the answer is yes, definitely.

Look what's happening in other cities and agencies. Employee groups are returning to the table to renogotiate salaries and benefits. One example: Palo Alto firefighters. This is going to have to happen unless we want to see large numbers of public employees losing their jobs, and public services cut beyond the bone.


Posted by Dave, a resident of another community
on May 16, 2009 at 7:46 am

In the mid to late 70's a certain San Mateo County Sheriff Officer Boyd would chase us in his cruiser all over the valley on our mini bikes...we knew all the trails and would not get caught until they got the helicopter out there. Back then, there were many open fields of oats and oak trees and few fences. I think less than 3000 people lived in Portola Valley back then. Funny looking at the almanac on line now from so far away physically and in time...seems like in the valley, a few folks wring their hands about this or that issue, but compared to the rest of the world, life in The Bubble is relatively easy. If this issue is consuming you, maybe a reexamination of your priorities is in order. If it just another issue to be dealt with, count your blessings. Happy trails, all.


Posted by Gordon, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on Dec 16, 2012 at 9:05 am

After reading this article from 2009, now I know why we face a fiscal cliff inn 2013...


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