Mayor Don Wesely said today that later this week he will propose to the City Council adding 12 police officers in the 2003-2004 fiscal year using the COPS grants while they are still available from the federal government. The Mayor will discuss the idea with the City Council at a budget retreat on Thursday.
"Public safety is one of the primary responsibilities of the City government," Wesely said. "Adding police officers has always been a priority for me. With the federal money already authorized for the City to add 12 officers, we can do so without raising property taxes next year. We don’t know how much longer the federal grants will be available." The COPS grants provide $25,000 for each new officer for three years.
The Mayor said he is optimistic that if sales tax revenues continue to be ahead of projections, the new officers could be added without a property tax increase. The City property tax rate has gone down under Mayor Wesely’s four budgets.
Mayor Wesely has added 13 police officers since 1999. The previous budgets have also included three additional civilian Police Department support staff, vehicles and equipment.
Mayor Wesely said the additional officers will complement the Hometown Security Study he and the City Council have agreed to conduct of the City’s public safety gap in police, fire and the 911 Center. The study will help identify priorities and options to fund additional officers.