Police Protection Isn't Cheap

Due to early retirement, the Effingham Police Dept lost a net-effect of five officers over the course of the past 12 years.

The prevailing sentiment has been to see how well the City can get by without replacing them.

 

At this juncture, Police Chief Mike Schutzbach and City Administrator Jim Arndt have witnessed enough of a struggle with effective staffing of shifts… and a big enough increase in overtime expenses… that they have approached the City Council with a request to add four more officers to the police department.

 

At the October 20th City Council Meeting, I directly asked Chief Schutzbach if he felt the lack of appropriate police staffing level puts the citizens of Effingham in peril.  He replied, “Yes.”

 

To add four more full-time officers to the Effingham City Police Dept would require a tax levy increase of 10.57% which would equate to a $60.70 tax increase for a homeowner with a home valued at $150,000.

 

Should the priority be on public safety or keeping taxes low?

Comments

150k home owner paying 60 dollars more a year for 24/7 protection... 911 has to send someone folks.. our town is growing, with that comes more problems. I'm for the four...

If there has been consistent overtime wouldn't this cover the expense of adding staff. How about adding two not four. I think the city should go line by line through their budget and tighten the belt like the taxpayers do and find the money with what they have. Next the school district will need to hike it up, then the park district for the sports center. They could have cut a little sq ft off the sports center and had the money or maybe some of the positions created by the city the last few years should be eliminated. You just created a greeter position at city hall and then you want to raise taxes because you dont have enough money in the budget? I'm all for adding law enforcement but no tax increase!

How well the City can get by? Or the Dept? Both suffer. Regardless of the obvious lack of staffing for over 12 years, the fact is this town is much larger on a daily basis than what our population sign reads. What the police provide the people in this town is priceless, the least we could do is provide a staff. How about a new building to accommodate the new staff as well, the current one is just sad. Its sad that our 24/7 responders are still in that building.

Why do we need 4? Why can't we get by with 2 and not have a tax increase? They say they do not have the staff, but yet they send 3-4 cops to a standard traffic stop. Seems to me the cops we have now have to much time on their hands the way it is.

Aww, the eye in the sky, the one who sees all. You witness one stop, don't know any of the details, and state as fact that all stops take 3-4 cops. Which isn't true, and now isn't even possible. 4 more would be one extra person per shift. The ones now go from call to call, but on a slow time heaven forbid they gather to eat or assist on a stop and all they have is time.

I agree with the last post 3 or 4 cruisers are at almost every traffic stop I see so I say we put 3 cruisers to other uses like patrolling our streets I have lived in the homewood area 11 yrs and can count the police presence in the area on one hand so lets reassess what we have before we hire more and increase taxes

How about not raising taxes not everyone pays taxes in effingham. There is alot of low income housing a lot of rentals and apts. Find the money elsewhere. Or all the city employees can pay their,own ins and retirement, I agree maybe 2 officers. They don't have enough to keep them busy now

I would be all for Effingham increasing police protection for an extra $60.00 a year IF our government hadn't been spending money on ridiculous things. We don't need new banners. The water department doesn't need a "shield" over their desk. We didn't need a new customer service person to direct people through a 2 story building. We don't need to be handing out "gift baskets" to businesses....and for heaven's sake, get rid of the City Administrator which the citizens voted against..and let the mayor get back to doing his job.

Assuming a need for additional officers, why a property tax increase to fund it? The City general fund within the last 2 years began receiving at least $2.5 million in annual sales tax revenue that previously went to the TIF fund and was not eligible for expenses such as police protection. Where is that $2.5 million going? More sidewalks? Let's use that for additional police.

When a major investment/opportunity comes up 'at home'--what do you do? Right--you lop something(s) off at the bottom of your priority list & not give yourself a raise (wouldn't that be nice). You look at everything & not just focus on the 'new' thing. Also, I would hope someone has a general/beginning, rule-of-thumb manning chart for police protection. Was police manning correct 12 years ago? Overall city manning (+Mayor & Administrator)? Vehicles? Compensation? Benefits? Pensions? I do not know! (By the way, pensions have pretty much gone extinct except for government & schools. Why?) How long has it been since 50-somethings were offered early retirement? Talk about a 30-year investment. You are considering 50+ year investments. Similar for new hires. How about you take average Joe Effingham's income, benefits & pension and compare it to City Government's (& Unit 40's)? What's the gap? Medicare went up (Fed); State--no contest; Property Taxes (County) & now the City is considering. Remember, next year is election year--Hmm. Hands down--WE ALL have to completely support those in Police & Fire Protection. Only my opinion--but, I believe the real issue is that the Priority List and Bennies needs scrubbed now and regularly. P.S. I am not throwing darts at the City Council. Like Police & Fire; thank goodness they are willing to take on very difficult issues.

First of all, the $60 is not a big deal. But, I think the overall question is "are we making the most of what we have in the first place?". It is pretty hard now to get a speeding ticket, or to get arrested for loud exhaust. There are a lot of burglaries in the neighborhoods, and very little success at finding the culprits. I think there is a lack of patrolling, and maybe too many doing administrative functions back at the station, maybe. I'v also noticed a lot of money going to downtown renovations and giving money to the Corvette place and the Convention Center. It seems we give away, or perhaps, invest, a lot of money in all directions. We didn't need a library, but we got one. We paid a lot for the Amoco station property and pretty much gave it to 5/3 bank. We did a similar deal in the past with the Dust and Son property years back. We got a Performance Center that we said we were told would not hit the taxpayers, but it did. We got a County Museum that was not going to cost us any money, but, it does! That building was deemed unsafe and moldy, but now, it is somehow a great thing. We got a sports center that will end up costing us quite a bit, as well. We voted down a City Manger, only to get a City Administrator in direct defiance to the voters. I will say that it ended up probably being the right move, but, wow, why do we ask the voters in the first place if the City fathers just do what they want, anyway? None of these were a part of the current Mayor's decisions. But, I think the citizens are always skeptical because of what most of our previous administrators had done previously. If you vote in the additional police, let's get some results out there. Arrest folks violating the law, don't wait for the complaint. Have a presence in the neighborhoods.

Add new comment