Portage police patrols to cease and desist
Written by By DEBBIE ROGERS Sentinel Staff Writer
Thursday, 05 November 2009 10:25
PORTAGE - Police patrols in the village will be arrested starting Dec. 9.
The department, which is being eliminated because of Portage's dire financial situation, will cease operations early next month.
The police had planned on working until the end of the year, but some council members suggested that they stop writing tickets earlier to accommodate mayor's court appearances.
At Monday's meeting, Councilwoman Tamara Sharp said if tickets stop on Dec. 9, mayor's court could wrap up by Dec. 16. It is expected that the mayor's court clerk will work through February, taking care of any additional business.
"Since it's costing us money, the sooner it ends, the better," Sharp said.
Police Chief Bob Bartz said he is still working, along with two other part-time patrolmen.
Mayor Mark Wolford said the police department brought in $5,138, through tickets, in October.
The department is also scrambling to collect unpaid fines and fees dating back four years.
After the meeting, Wolford said about $1,500 has been collected since letters went out notifying people that they had outstanding money owed to Portage.
One of the drawbacks from the blitz is some people who had paid their fines received letters. Wolford estimated that 15 letters went out in err.
The mayor's court clerk and solicitor are working on the problem, he said.
"Something happened there and we don't know what yet," Wolford said. "But they are also paying off."
The village is expected to have a deficit of $128,822 by the end of the year. It was put under fiscal emergency by the state auditor's office in April.
To get out of the hole, council has eliminated the police department and made plans to put a 1 percent income tax on the May ballot. It already implemented a 1 percent income tax in January to help with revenue.
Also at the meeting, council:
¥ Approved Wolford's appointments of Judy Amend and Mike Brinkman to an ad-hoc committee studying annexation. Village resident Mike Schmitz said he was disappointed that efforts to annex businesses north of the town weren't moving faster. After the meeting, Wolford said, "It doesn't happen overnight. There's a lot of ducks out there and it's hard to get them in a straight line."
¥ Put on hold two ordinances that may have to go through the planning commission and have public hearings before they go before council. One is to make Hickory Lane a one-way alley. The other has to do with subdivision rules for developers.
¥ Heard the Financial Planning and Supervision Commission, which is overseeing the village's plan for getting out of fiscal emergency, is meeting Dec. 17 at 7 p.m. in the town hall.