SALINAS, Calif. -

The Salinas City Council voted Tuesday to hire an outside firm to handle parking enforcement in the city.

Council members agreed to a $270,000 two-year contract with Serco, a Virginia-based company that handles similar parking enforcement in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Hollywood and Chicago.

According to James Serrano, Salinas transportation planner, the outsourcing agreement will allow community service officers, who currently issue parking tickets, to assist police in other areas such as traffic control and non-emergency situations and also help streamline the city's parking system, which currently involves the city's Public Works, Police and Finance departments.