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Cost of security rises at city facilities
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Those who hold parties or other events at the Ceres Community Center will soon by paying more for security services. The impending rise in the minimum wage in California - from $8 to $9 per hour - prompted Ontel Security to ask the City Council for permission to pass along those costs to facility users.

Customers renting the center and the Ceres American Legion Memorial Building will pay $18.75 per hour, a dollar higher than it currently is. Additionally, overtime security costs will increase rise $1 to $25.88 per hour.

The new rates, which were approved by the council on May 27, will not apply for those who booked the facility as of the council action.

Ontel also patrols two city parks under a contract with the city. The rates will not apply to that contract, said Ceres Police Lt. Rick Collins. The city spends $2,298 per month with Ontel for security services per fiscal year for both Ceres Riverbluff Regional Park and Smyrna Park. The company patrols the park sites three to four times per 24-hour period.

The city decided in September 2007 to contract for services as a less expensive way than paying sworn officers to keep an eye on parks. The action came in response to the Jan. 12, 2007 shooting of a man in a Smyrna Park robbery.