Can the City save millions shutting down the Police Dept?

Back in 2011/2012, there was talk about doing away with the Wauchula Police Department and contracting with the Sheriff’s Department. It was mostly a scare tactic against the Chief at the time. Basically, lower your budget or the whole department will go away. So, it was done. The Police Department met their goals and lowered their budget. 

But soon after Chief was gone it seemed that the Police Departments budget kept climbing and climbing. Here is the original proposal from Sheriff Lanier back in 2012. 

proposal1proposal2

One thing to remember is that the Police Department is basically using a Two-Man Coverage so remember that when looking at the figures. Back  when they were lowering the Budget in 2012, they stuck with the Three-Man coverage (They knew they couldn’t get any lower)  and lowered the budget to $1,204,202.00 staying below the Sheriff’s Bid of $1,284,723.20. 

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 Now let’s look at the history of PD’s budget. 

 

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What’s confusing is the amount of money being spent on Vehicles. Over a 3 year period, they have spent $382,223.00 (001-521-56400 Capital -Vehicles-No Tax). That’s a lot of money. I just wonder what it’s for. Account 001-521-57150 is for the Chargers…Guess I’ll have to look into that. Anyway, As you can see the Current Police Department budget is $1,464,721 with No Capital money for Vehicles. A few months back I asked the Sheriff for an updated proposal, this is what he sent.

 

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As you can see this proposal is only about $12K more than the old and that was 5 years ago. Yet the Police Department budget has gone up almost $400K in the same 5 years. Looks like Atchley’s paycheck and PD’s budget are the only things going up over the years :/

When you look at the proposal remember the total is not a yearly figure. Let’s use the Two-Man Coverage of $901,690.79. This is everything including 9 vehicles at @32k each. So if we take the vehicles out of the figure for the next 4 years here is about what we are looking at. (Vehicles usually last around 5-6 years. Longer if they are maintained.) 

 

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I know there is more to it, lots of discussion and planning on both the City and Sheriff’s Department. But to save $3 Million in 4 years? It’s not rocket science. 

Back in the day, I believe the PD was good for the City. I know they gave the City a personal touch. We just don’t see that anymore. Personally, that money could be used for a lot more things in this community. For example, here are a few things the Public has spoken up about. 

1- ADA upgrades; sidewalks, curb cuts, seating for parades maybe covered area, automatic doors, handicap parking

2-Handicap access to Peace River, maybe a dock, catwalk.

3-A program for the Special Needs kids/ adults that age out of school and during the summer. There is no reason their families should have to choose between placing their kids in a group home or deal with the struggles that go along with keeping them home with their family that know and love them.

4-Street Paving

5- I would like to see a wheelchair accessible playground/ park. With playground equipment that is wheelchair accessible also. There are other families with special needs family members I think would agree

6-Hooked on phonics for local politicians.

If any of my figures are incorrect and someone from the City and or Sheriff’s Department would like to correct me, please, by all means, email me. 

So it’s up to YOU, the citizens to bring it up. Well, guess you don’t actually have to bring it up, we all know everyone in Hardee County will be reading this 🙂 If you are a Citizen here in Hardee County and want to comment on this subject, Please send me an email. 

Have a Great Night & Sail Safe,

~Wau

Complete City Budget for 2017/2018

Full Proposal from the Sheriff’s Department. (Updated $ on the last page)