Policing options on the table for Oak Creek

Town Board to discuss Sheriff's Office proposal

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If you go

What: Oak Creek Town Board meeting

When: 7 p.m. today

Where: Oak Creek Town Hall

Agenda:

- 7 p.m. Call to order

- Audience participation

- Hearing: Colorado restaurant and bar, liquor license renewal

- Speakers: Tammie Delaney, Vision 2030

- General Business: Reports or items of concern from board members - including policing options

- Fire department lease

- Sierra View letter of credit

- Staff reports

- Adjournment

— The hottest item in front of the Oak Creek Town Board isn't even on the agenda for Thursday's meeting, but Trustee Dave Ege said police force options are sure to be considered.

Routt County Sheriff Gary Wall has presented the Town Board and the Routt County Board of Commissioners with an estimate of how much it would cost for the Routt County Sheriff's Office to provide complete policing for the town: $306,428.11 per year.

Since the town disbanded its police force at the end of 2008, the town has relied on deputies to respond to emergencies, but Wall said it would cost the town more for complete coverage.

"Because they are an incorporated municipality, we don't want to provide the same level of service to people if they don't pay," he said.

The Sheriff's Office provides coverage to the town of Yampa under an annual contract for $7,000, but Wall said the populations and issues faced in Oak Creek are much greater.

"It isn't much money, but we don't do much there," Wall said about policing Yampa. "It's a separate situation with Yampa."

The Oak Creek budget for police matters is only $120,000 per year, leaving trustees with an open discussion tonight about how to provide police coverage within reason. Options include contracting with Wall to provide only partial service, or to hire their own police force.

"What we'd like to do is trim back, where we'd have a code enforcement and dog-catcher type situation that we pay for, and then pay them for additional coverage. Obviously $300,000, that's considerably over our budget. That is our budget, basically," Mayor J. Elliott said.

Ege said that because Oak Creek citizens pay taxes to the county, some level of service should be provided.

"They'll have to make a decision on whether we do a contract with Routt County, whether by statute the county has to provide us law enforcement and whether the county taxes that we pay as citizens can be used as a credit to offset some of these charges," Ege said. "Or if maybe we don't have to pay that portion of our county taxes since we will be billed for law enforcement by the county."

Comments

Scott Wedel 5 years, 4 months ago

Personally, I think OC should call the county's bluff and threaten to deincorporate. Then the county would have to provide law enforcement, street maintenance and snow removal without getting any additional money from the citizens of OC. In fact, residents in the former town of OC would no longer have to pay a 3% sales tax or the town property tax.

OC could become county just like Pburg, Stagecoach, Clark, Hahn's Peak and Milner. There is no list of developers actively trying to be annexed into OC that would be stuck if no town of OC.

Thus, it is a bluff that the county would have to take seriously. And then maybe they'll make an offer for police services that is at least comparable to what Yampa pays ($7,000 a year).

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Dave Ege 5 years, 4 months ago

Very valid points Scott.

I just hope the citizens of Oak Creek show up tonight. There are some very serious and interesting things that will come up. I hope the Sheriff and a County Commissioner or two show up too!

Dave Ege Trustee, Town of Oak Creek Police Commissioner

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