Dec 062017

Town Hall meeting on topic of a water rate hike to pay for six more Redmond Police officers.

About 30 Redmond citizens showed up Tuesday night at City Hall to question the idea of raising water bills in order to hire six more police officers.

Redmond Police Lt. Curtis Chambers told the gathering that the last recession hit Redmond hard, requiring it to lay off officers and other police workers. He said the police department is slowly getting back pre-recession levels but the city continues to add residents which puts a bigger strain on the police services. He said the town has grown and an already stretched police force needs more officers to continue high quality police protection for the public.

Chambers said the proposed six dollar a month water fee increase would hire six additional police officers. Lt. Chambers told the gathering that with the additional personnel Redmond’s streets will be safer and better policed, more crimes will be solved, more heat will be focused on drug dealers and a lot more personal contact will be made with the public.

Many cash strapped cities in Oregon are resorting to utility fee hikes to bolster their police department operations.

Some in the audience wondered why they’re asking for a Police Department fee on water bills. Couldn’t they find the money in the city’s budget, now that the country’s economy is back on better footing? Chambers and the city finance director replied that they want to reserve the property tax for other things like streets and other infrastructure. They added that as long as new housing and commercial projects keep coming in at the city’s planning department the increase in property taxes on new construction should help bolster Richmond’s financial condition and begin to pay for even more police officers down the road.

The next Redmond Town Hall Meeting on the water fee issue will be at 5:30pm at Redmond City Hall, January 22nd. Everyone is invited to observe and ask questions. The city council is expected to decide early next year whether raising water bills city six dollars a month city-wide is the right way to enhance Redmond’s police force.

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