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Funding new police positions will cost $4.50-$10.50 per month for residents

PMG FILE PHOTO - Revenue from a new public safety fee will fund the hiring of two officers — a traffic officer and a lieutenant — for the 2019-21 biennium.A new public safety fee is being added to your utility bill, and it could hit as soon as next month.

Sandy City Council approved implementing a monthly fee to help fund the Sandy Police Department on July 15. The proceeds will be used to hire two police officers to bring department staffing levels back to where they were before a contract with the city of Estacada was established.

Estacada contracted Sandy Police Department services for five years, deciding in October to discontinue the partnership. To account for bringing back the two officers serving Estacada, the department offered retirement incentives, knowing its budget couldn't absorb those officers even though the department would remain understaffed.

What's being called the public safety fee is the city's attempt to resolve the difference.

With the new revenue stream accounted for in the city's budget, two officers — a traffic officer and a lieutenant — will be hired for the for the 2019-21 biennium, at a $520,000 expense.

The fee will vary by customer class and number of dwelling units — single-family households will pay $4.50 a month, multi-family dwellings $4.50 per month per unit, and commercial and industrial enterprises will foot an additional $10.50-per-month.

This is estimated to bring in a biennial revenue of approximately $520,704.

One resident attended the public hearing to adopt the fee on Monday, opposing implementing additional costs to citizens.

"Expanding fees every time we need to fund something is getting old," Greg Becker told the City Council. Becker commended the work already being done by the police on staff, but suggested that the revenue needed should be coming from the collection of fees from traffic violations and citations.

Mayor Stan Pulliam countered that he believes it will become easier to collect the fees Becker mentioned once the city has hired a traffic officer again, which will be funded by the public safety fee.

The vote to implement the fee was unanimous.

"We're at a pivotal time now as public safety goes," Pulliam noted. "I'm excited to be moving forward."

More information about the fee can be found at bit.ly/publicsafetyfee.


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