OC supervisor formalizes direction for reviewing Dana Point Harbor Patrol funding

Dana Point Harbor Advisory Board’s request for an inspection granted.

DANA POINT — Dana Point Harbor Advisory Board (DPHAB) scored a win after Lisa Bartlett, supervisor of Orange County’s 5th District, responded to a request made in March for an examination of funding allocation to the local Harbor Patrol.

In the original letter sent to Supervisor Bartlett on March 27, DPHAB chair James Lenthall requested a formal review of Dana Point Harbor Patrol’s performance and its effect on the Dana Point Tidelands Fund 108; the Harbor Patrol is a branch of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

A question raised in the March 27 letter: whether the harbor patrol funding would possibly raise slip rates, lease fees and affect the affordability of coastal access. In addition to acting as a guideline for customer service and environmental safeguarding of the Harbor, Dana Point Tidelands Fund 108 also outlines a goal to implement the harbor’s revitalization plan, which has been in an ongoing process for more than 20 years.

Another aspect questioned in the letter on behalf of DPHAB was whether the current model of the harbor patrol could be altered (as in, find a more cost-effective solution) that still met standards of safety at Dana Point Harbor.

Bartlett’s response, dated June 18, agreed with the request and directed county staff to review the allocation of costs to harbor patrol services and determine if the current deployment model is the most efficient.

In her response, Bartlett said: “Given the requests, my office has reviewed numerous aspects of coastal operations including recreational uses, dredging, commercial operations, slip management, and harbor patrol services. However, it has now become necessary to further analyze and review harbor patrol operations to ensure continued public safety and the fiscal integrity of the tidelands funds over the next several decades.”

The directives released in the letter were broken into two main concerns.

In the response letter, the first course of action read: “Review the current Countywide Harbor Patrol cost allocations and prepare recommendation for Board approval that ensures allocation of costs commensurate with services provided.”

The second directive read: “Review the current Harbor Patrol deployment model to determine if it provides the most efficient and effective use of resources, and if necessary provide a recommendation for Board approval, which provides alternative models (which may include utilization of additional classification).”

Lenthall told The Log in an email that he was pleased with the response and this is one of the goals DPHAB had been working towards.

“Supervisor Bartlett responded precisely as we requested, which was to initiate a study of harbor patrol, in particular an analysis of funding allocation and the effectiveness and efficiency of the model deployed by OCSD.  I am very pleased,” Lenthall said.

Lenthall continued, “It is entirely appropriate (necessary, really) to delegate this to County staff.  Issuing this directive to the County chief executive was the next necessary step to undertake this study.  We appreciate Supervisor Bartlett’s response to our DPHAB request, we offer our continued assistance on this matter, and we look forward to the outcome.”


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