|Portage cuffs police|
|Written by By DEBBIE ROGERS Sentinel Staff Writer|
|Tuesday, 16 June 2009 10:10|
PORTAGE - The majority of village council voted Monday to cut the police chief's hours in half, infuriating a crowd of about 50 residents and some employees.
But the three councilmembers who voted to cut the chief's hours said they were compromising on a proposal by Clerk-Treasurer Bruce Shepherd to disband the entire department.
After the two-hour meeting, they said the village owes $40,000 on a sewer loan at the end of the year and there currently is less than that in the fund.
"Cutting hours was our compromise," Maas said.
"We're in dire financial straits and the police department is costing us a lot of money," Sharp said. "By law we are responsible to keep this village running financially. That is our job."
The police department lost $14,000 in 2007 and $50,000 in 2008, she said.
Sharp said the councilmembers didn't feel like they could explain their actions during the meeting because of the "free-for-all" atmosphere.
Sgt. Scott Herrick, who's been with the Portage police for six years, offered to resign if Bartz could keep his job.
Earlier in the meeting, Gary Deutschman asked how council could consider cutting the police department when it had just purchased an $18,000 lawnmower.
"We need to keep the police department intact," he said.
The department is here to protect and serve, not generate money, Deutschman added.
Rose Yoder reminded council of the 1 percent income tax it had enacted in January; it should collect about $60,000 annually. She said she'd like to see her dollars fund police operations.
"You kind of went against what the majority of people want," Yoder said.
Linda Glomski suggested starting a petition to get the police chief's hours back on council's agenda.
Kristen Wetzel said the petition should be to recall the income tax instead, since residents are being taxed more but services are being cut.
Council has been studying the police department budget for weeks. The village was put into fiscal emergency by the state auditor in April.
Portage residents listen during city council meeting.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 June 2009 10:26|
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