The concept of saving money via partnerships among government agencies seems to be catching on, at least in Stanislaus County.
Actions on four such unions appear on today's agenda of county supervisors, who will consider:
Exploring a merger of firefighting services with Modesto and Salida;
Providing fire inspections and reviewing fire-related construction plans for Oakdale;
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Hiring out building inspectors and construction plan reviewers to Oakdale;
Laying off an animal control worker connected to a recent partnership with five cities.
The last three appear on supervisors' consent agenda, meaning they won't get public discussion unless someone requests it.
Supervisors expect a report on combining some firefighting functions with Modesto and the Salida Fire Protection District, a cost-saving idea that has surfaced in various forms with many possible partners over several years.
The latest proposal would put two supervisors at the table with two Modesto City Council members and a pair of Salida Fire Board members for formal talks. Modesto and Salida operate traditional fire departments, and the county fire warden's office focuses on specialized services such as training, fire investigations and fire prevention.
The trio of agencies is expected to discuss sharing strategic planning and electronic records management, and whether they might better coordinate rescue operations and responses to medical emergencies as well as hazardous materials calls.
Streamlining, the theory goes, could eliminate duplicated services, helping the agencies become more efficient.
The proposed deals with Oakdale were approved earlier this month by its council members, who would pay the county for various services.
The county fire warden would conduct fire inspections mandated by the state and would review fire elements on all construction plans.
The county's community development department would take over Oakdale's building inspections and review of construction plans, plus enforcement of permits for homes, stores or industrial buildings. The county has had the same contract with Ceres for a dozen years.
If approved, the county, whose development department has lost 29 workers in the past couple of years, could hire one person to help with Oakdale, a report says.
The county's lengthy layoff list in recent months could grow by one if supervisors agree today to lay off an animal control worker who places adoptable pets with rescue agencies and handles some public complaints.
The loss is attributed to the county's partnership with Modesto, Ceres, Patterson, Waterford and Hughson, who last year joined forces and are building an animal shelter together. Riverbank, Oakdale, Turlock and Newman use other shelters.
The joint-powers agency expected to bill Modesto $134,625 for neighborhood enforcement services, including writing citations for owners of dogs without licenses. But Modesto figures it can handle the job on its own and save that expense.
The county was counting on that money for its animal control budget, and will lay off one worker to keep things in balance, if supervisors agree this morning. The employee in question has worked more than 15 years for the county and will have "bumping" rights, meaning another worker with less seniority would go, said Annette Patton, the county's animal services director.
Today's meeting of the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. in the basement chamber at Tenth Street Place, 1010 10th St., Modesto.
Bee staff writer Garth Stapley can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2390.