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Police part of budget

By Staff | Sep 11, 2011

Kathy Bailey

One interesting item included in the proposed Blue Earth City budget for 2012 is the inclusion of funds for a local police department and police chief salary.

“My recommendation is to hire and maintain our own department at this time,” City Administrator Kathy Bailey wrote in her explanation of the 2012 budget.

Her reasons were that the city of Blue Earth could save $79,270 with her recommendations, while going with Winnebago’s proposal the savings would be $70,823 after adding in the costs of utilities and property taxes.

“The cost of the county sheriff’s department proposal was more than Winnebago’s to start with and I believe by the time we negotiated with them there would have been less savings than going this route,” she wrote. “This continues to give the Blue Earth Council control of the policing in the community.”

Bailey added in her notes that she believes that if the council and the community was ready to accept a different method and level of police service at this time, the council would have moved forward with it by now.

Bailey’s proposal for the police department in the 2012 budget calls for a patrolling chief and three officers.

“I have lowered the officer overtime to eliminate the four hours of overtime in each officer’s schedule,” Bailey writes. “The senior officers are estimated to have a base salary of $54,232 with the overtime calculation. The new chief would have an estimated base salary of $57,887.”

The salaries also include a part time officer at the same salary rate as is currently paid. Since January of this year, part time officers have been filling an open officer position.

Also in the police budget is the purchase of a new squad car, and quitting the car leasing option.

“Now that the leases no longer include fuel, all of the chiefs and sheriffs I spoke to do not recommend leasing,” Bailey explains. “They feel that the vehicles can be run longer than three years. This saves on outfitting costs and gives them more control to run a good vehicle longer.”

The City Council did not discuss Bailey’s written proposal and took no action on it, or on the proposed 2012 budget itself at last Monday’s meeting.