By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Staff Writer
While not facing any new budget cuts as part of fiscal year 2014, Clinton Police Chief Brian Guy said his department is still feeling the crunch of past budget cuts in the areas of staffing and space.
The department has 40 budgeted officers this year, which is 13 percent less than the department had on 2008, Guy said to city council members during a budget workshop on Monday afternoon at city hall.
"Our staffing is hard to accomplish. Especially minimum staffing which is four during the day Monday through Friday and five at night and on the weekends," Guy said. "Hiring back for vacations, people taking vacations and training is almost inevitable. CID and narcotics are being extremely compromised because we have to make sure we have street coverage."
Guy is pursuing a staffing study assessment that will determine if the department has the proper data to conduct a full staffing study. The full study would examine the number of personnel the department needs as well as the proper scheduling of staff.
"I think that staffing for the police department should be a primary goal of the city and the City Council to take a look that'll determine this year, next year, future years, how do we get where we need to be to be adequately staffed for the safety of the officers and the safety of the public," Guy said.
The police facility also causes Guy concern. The rent for the space is expected to increase by $2,000 to $71,600 annually. The city has been renting the facility for 20 years. Before that, it paid to use the law center, marking more than 45 years of paying rent for the police facilities.
"We need a long-term solution when the economic condition is right," Guy said.
The former Building and Neighborhood Services Department building on Fifth Avenue South has been eyed for the department's storage needs, but no decision has been made about using that building.
Without a permanent solution, the department plans to make the most of the facility it has and complete a $30,000 renovation to the facility in order to make it ADA compliant.
Ward 1 Councilwoman Maggie Klaes asked why Guy would make the upgrade if he plans to move the department to a permanent location.
"Not knowing exactly when that's going to be, we have to make upgrades now because we're there now and have been for 20 years," Guy said.
During his budget presentation Guy also told council members the department has budgeted for an increase in overtime to $190,500. Fuel expenditures are also anticipated to increase to $93,000. Meanwhile, the cost of maintaining vehicles will go down due to recently replaced vehicles.
Capital costs such as record digitalization, unmarked police cars, encryption boards, interview room recording, tasers and weapons have all been recommended for funding in fiscal year 2014 through a bond.