Consolidation of services as a cost-cutting and efficiency measure is constantly evaluated by staff, and seems to become a public issue every few years. The good news is that the County (and most of the municipalities) has been consolidating services wherever possible for more than a decade. Nevertheless, it’s wise to re-visit this topic periodically, and such was the case in 2010. The Board of Supervisors led the convening of all five municipalities and the County on Monday, September 13, 2010, at the Yountville Community Center. The meeting was held at 6 pm to make it easier for the public (countywide) to attend.
The sole topic was the potential for consolidation of local government services. The purpose of the meeting was to learn about consolidation issues and efforts throughout the nation and discuss concepts for consolidations in Napa County.
One of the highest costs for local government is the provision of public safety, especially law enforcement and fire suppression. Thus, the meeting was facilitated by John Firman, Director of Research with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). While public safety was the primary area of discussion, consolidation of other government services was also open for discussion.
The bottom line? All the ‘low-hanging fruit’ has been harvested. Calistoga and St. Helena are not interested in a ‘metropolitan’ police force, i.e., countywide law enforcement agency, preferring to keep their small community police forces, and neither is the City of Napa. But we pledged to keep working on any other areas where we might obtain cost savings and greater efficiency through shared operations, specifically including a corporation yard(s) shared by the City of Napa and the County.
Following is a brief inventory of programs that the county has long provided in conjunction with other jurisdictions:
Yountville and American Canyon contract with the Napa County Sheriff’s Department to provide law enforcement services in that town and city.
The County Public Works Department provides a number of services jointly with other jurisdictions:
- Shares road equipment with the City of Napa, Solano County, and the Sonoma County Weights & Measures office
- Shares roads staff with the City of Napa on paving projects, guard rail installations, and vegetation mowing
- County traffic signals are maintained by the City of Napa
- The City of Napa sign shop fabricates county roads signs
- The County and City of Napa jointly purchase bulk pothole patch material providing economies of scale
- The County and City of Napa have jointly funded paving projects (County pocket areas within the City and on the perimeter of the City)
- On occasion, vehicle service and repairs are made on Yountville, Fish & Game, Napa County Schools, and UC Cooperative Extension vehicles.
- The 5th Street Parking Garage was jointly constructed with the City of Napa and private partners, and the City and County jointly fund annual maintenance costs.
The County Public Works Department contracts with California Highway Patrol (CHP) to provide its fueling at the County’s Spanish Flat and Yountville Corporation Yards. The County and the City of Napa collaborate on a joint fuel purchase contract.
The Environmental Management Section operates the Animal Shelter with American Canyon, the City of Napa, and Yountville. The department also provides or oversees county-wide:
- Hazardous materials services (site cleanup oversight, hazardous materials business plans, spill response, etc.)
- Well permitting
- Regulation of small water systems
- Medical waste management
- Green Business Program
- Solid waste services conducted jointly by the County, Yountville, St. Helena and Calistoga, including waste collection, landfill, and recycling programs
- Restaurant and public pool inspections
The Health and Human Services Agency provides or assists in providing a variety of programs and resources to the county-wide community in conjunction with other jurisdictions including:
- Housing and homeless services – including three different Shelter Projects (South Napa, Emergency Winter, and Family) with the help of funding from the cities and town; the Hope Center in downtown Napa is funded by the cities and the county
- Mental health consultation to the City of Napa Threat Assessment Team through a Memorandum of Understanding
- A single Public Health laboratory for Solano and Napa Counties, operated under a Joint Powers Agreement
- Emergency Medical Services, currently overseen through a regional authority covering Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino Counties
- “Napa Help” – the Court’s on-line health and human services resource guide. Similarly, 2-1-1 is a regional call-in number providing Bay Area residents with information on health and human services resources available to the community.
The Napa County Library operates countywide in four municipalities (St. Helena has its own library) via a decades-old joint powers agreement between the four municipalities and the county. The Library SNAP (Solano, Napa and Partners) system is an inter-county collaboration, providing our shared on-line catalog and databases. Napa County contracts with Solano to provide that service, instead of each library purchasing a separate but similar system.
County Counsel provides legal services for independent districts including Circle Oaks Water District, Las Carneros Water District, Napa River Reclamation District, Mosquito Abatement District, Parks and Open Space District, Resource Conservation District, and Spanish Flat Water District. This is a great savings to these various public entities that would otherwise have to hire lawyers that specialize in local government work.
The Auditor-Controller provides mandated services such as property tax allocation, Prop 172 disbursements, COP Disbursements, Local Transportation Funds, and Court Revenue disbursements on behalf of all the cities/town. The Auditor-Controller also provides consolidated services to other entities/special districts including payroll, accounts payable, general ledger, State reporting and audit assistance for annual audits. Again, these services provide great savings to these small public entities.
The Election Division conducts elections for all entities in the county when requested. In addition, until the 1950s, cities had their own assessors. These are now consolidated in the County Recorder/Assessor’s office.
Napa County provides comprehensive Information Technology services for the Napa Sanitation District, Cal FIRE, Napa County Transportation and Planning Agency, and LAFCO.
The Information Technology division also provides the following computer applications used by other jurisdictions/agencies, as follows:
- Accela – allowing CalFire to track and approve inspections on County building permits
- CJIMS and LiveScan Mug Shots (City of Napa, Calistoga, St. Helena)
- GIS – American Canyon and St. Helena can view/edit city specific web maps
- GIS – All county local governments and special districts can access (view) GIS data
- iLeads – Managed and owned by the City of Napa with access for the Sheriff’s Office and Animal Services
- WARN (Wide Alert Rapid Notification) – mass notification used by American Canyon Fire and Office of Emergency Services (OES); City of Napa Dispatch, Fire, Police Dept., and Public Works/Flood Dept.; Town of Yountville OES; St. Helena OES; Calistoga OES and Dispatch; and Napa County Office of Education
- 1198 (Law Enforcement Message Board used by County-wide law enforcement agencies and CHP)
Child Support Services shares services with all other local child support services in the State. In order to be cost effective and meet customer needs, the local office will meet with any customer in the State and appear on behalf of all other counties in court. All other counties do the same for Napa County.
This is only a summary of consolidation programs. For more detailed information about any of them, please feel free to contact Diane.