City wants to triple price of Electric City's police coverage
Police chief had no part in proposal
Grand Coulee is advancing a proposal for law enforcement coverage for Electric City that would triple the price, a proposal that its own police chief hadn’t seen.
Chief Mel Hunt took one look at the proposal and stated, “This is the first time I’ve seen this.” The copy of the proposal had been made available to The Star by the city clerk’s office in Electric City.
Officials there were going through sticker shock last week when they looked at the proposal from Grand Coulee for $209,982 for 2015.
In the final year of the current five-year contract, Electric City paid $75,166. The new offering starts out with a 279-percent increase and goes up.
“We don’t have that kind of money,” Electric City Mayor Jerry Sands said, “but if we did we would have our own police officers.”
Electric City takes in between $120,000 and $130,000 in property taxes a year.
“We haven’t had a meeting with Grand Coulee yet,” Sands said. “A meeting was set for a week ago, but Grand Coulee cancelled.”
Sands also noted, “We are not complaining on what we are now getting for our money.”
Grand Coulee Mayor Chris Christopherson, who compiled the information for the proposal, saw things a bit differently.
“We can no longer subsidize Electric City for its law enforcement,” Christopherson said. “They need to pay their fair share of the cost. … They need us, we don’t need them.”
Council members on Grand Coulee’s public safety committee are Erin Nielsen and David Tylor. Their counterparts from Electric City’s council are John Nordine and Aaron Derr.
The spreadsheet proposal shows that Grand Coulee’s five-year contract plan would start at $209,982 for 2015 and increase about 5 percent each year, reaching a 2019 price tag of $255,235.
Christopherson said that since the drain is on the entire city, the negotiations will be handled by the city, not the police department.
Sands said the proposal is dead on arrival, but it gives the two cities a starting point.
Records show that 26.66 percent of calls to which Grand Coulee police respond come from Electric City.
Hunt stated that he had dispatch supply this information, but other than that he hadn’t seen any of the numbers used in the proposal.
“The number of calls we make in Electric City will continue to go up since the city has annexed new land,” Christopherson stated.