Council votes down outsourcing harbor services

OCEANSIDE — City Council voted down outsourcing harbor operations in a 3-2 vote April 3, but stated it may reconsider outsourcing in January.Councilmen Jerry Kern and Gary Felien cast the two no votes due to one bid that came in lower than present city services.The bid by California Yacht Marinas proposed a savings of $186,000 the first year.The Harbor and Beaches Advisory Committee and city staff saw this savings as too small to risk discontinuing city services that keep the harbor well maintained and hold slip rental fees below the area average. The harbor is a separate district and runs as an independent enterprise. Any savings in operation costs would stay within the harbor.

Harbor coordinator Frank Quan said there has not been discussion on how potential savings would be spent.

Members of the Harbor and Beaches Advisory Committee said any savings from outsourcing would likely come at the price of higher slip rental fees.

“We’re taking risks by doing this,” Kevin Bryne, advisory committee member, said.

“It’s an open-ended contract. Their job will be to make money.”

Ten speakers addressed council. None of them spoke in favor of outsourcing.

Despite the harbor having separate finances from the city, Kern, Felien and Feller continued to reference the city budget and total city PERs expenses as factors to consider.

“There’s no (city) budget deficit,” Feller said. “Come January if there’s a $1.7 million to $2 million deficit I’ll be the first in line to bring some of these outsourcing issues back.”

Kern said over time PERs costs (12 city employees work at the harbor) could come “crashing down on the city.”

“The discussion was risk versus return,” Kern said. “I don’t think the council wants to take money we’re going to use for services and pay for retirement.”

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