Yampa The town of Yampa will pay more in 2001 for law enforcement services provided by the Routt County Sheriff's Office, but the services of deputies will still be billed below cost.
The Routt County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to approve a new intergovernmental agreement with the town in south Routt that calls for sheriff's deputies to run daily patrols and to respond when citizens call for an officer. This year, Yampa will pay $24 per hour for a deputy and patrol car, compared to $20 last year.
"It took a while to hammer it out, but I'm pleased with it," Sheriff John Warner told the commissioners. "I see it as a benefit to both the town and county."
The agreement was previously approved by the Town Council, Mayor Tom Estes said. The town is statutorily obligated to provide law enforcement, and the sheriff is not obligated to provide law enforcement within the town limits. However, the law also allows the town to contract for the service, County Attorney John Merrill said.
Last year, the town paid $20 per hour up to $200 in a month, then paid $24 for every hour above 10. This year, Merrill said, the town of Yampa will just pay a flat rate of $24 per hour. The actual cost of providing law enforcement is closer to $32, Warner said. At one time, the county provided law enforcement to the town for as little as $12 per hour, he added.
Warner said the rate was generated from cost figures for a deputy's salary and usage of a patrol car; however, he and Merrill agreed the amount being charged is below cost.
"This is not a full cost," Merrill told the commissioners. "This is in recognition of the need for services."
Warner added, "We're all citizens of Routt County," and he noted the demand for law enforcement in Yampa currently doesn't justify the town hiring its own marshal and equipping him or her. The current population of Yampa is estimated at less than 400.
Estes said the arrangement has been a benefit to his community in the past.
"I won't say they patrol here every day, but when they come through they stop and visit with people and they check on the buildings in the middle of the night," he said.
Warner pointed out that Yampa had a case of attempted murder in 2000, and crime is definitely up in Yampa. But Estes said the attempted homicide is the only incident of its kind he can recall in his 16 years of living in Yampa. Recently, he said, criminal activity in Yampa has been limited to "a few snowmobiles on town streets."
Warner said when his deputies respond to a complaint in Yampa, the incident is assigned an identifiable case number and the deputies keep separate time sheets for work in the town.
The sheriff said Sgt. Richard Wood lives in south Routt County, and often, he makes patrol swings through Yampa. Warner pointed out the county also provides animal control services to the town.