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Safety departments request $3.3M

In a study presentation, police, fire and marine safety explain which items are reaching the end of their life spans. City will consider funding big ticket items.

July 14, 2010|By Britney Barnes, britney.barnes@latimes.com

Ballistic vests, an emergency ambulance and other "critical health and safety equipment" will soon reach their life spans, and Huntington Beach public safety officials are looking to the city to include the costs of replacing the equipment in next year's budget.

At Tuesday's study session, the heads of the police, fire and marine departments told the City Council that about $3.3 million in equipment needs to be replaced in the next 12 to 18 months. The money would need to come from the city's general fund, which covers day-to-day expenses.

"These are things that far exceed what we can handle in our normal operating budgets," said Marine Safety Chief Kyle Lindo.

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Councilman Gil Coerper raised concerns about how the city is going to come up with enough money to cover the equipment, but Mayor Pro Tem Jill Hardy had the answer.

"We're going to have a bake sale," she quipped.

The city will decide what is funded as part of its 2010-11 budget, said spokeswoman Laurie Payne.

All the departments are also looking into available grants to cover some of the costs.

The Police Department has presented a list of $1.7 million in equipment replacement and upgrades, not including a $2.5-million helicopter that will need to be replaced in 2013. The items are "big ticket items" the department has not had the budget for, said Lt. Russell Reinhart.

"We need all this stuff. Some of it is critical to have now," while the other stuff will be critical to have soon, he said.

The Police Department is looking to update its communication software, which hasn't been upgraded since October 2005, and its records storage to SIRE, a document management system the city clerk's office uses.

The department currently uses a paper records system and is running out of space, Capt. Dave Bunetta said during the presentation.

The new system would allow the department to scan the documents and digitally store them, eliminating paper records, Reinhart said. The department has been talking about buying SIRE for several years, but hasn't had the budget, he said.

The department is also looking to replace 12 black-and-white vehicles and 12 other vehicles a year that have exceeded 100,000 miles for $650,000 annually, replace 55 portable radios annually for 55 years and use the discarded ones for parts until they can all be replaced. The manufacturer no longer makes the radios or parts to fix them, Bunetta said.

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