Oak Creek to appeal to county for law enforcement help | SteamboatToday.com

Oak Creek to appeal to county for law enforcement help

— Oak Creek will take its law enforcement woes directly to the Routt County Board of Commissioners at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in hopes of finding a solution to the challenges of funding a police department in the small South Routt town.

The town of about 850 people saw its only police officer resign in May. Town Council members are concerned they cannot afford the $200,000 price tag of employing two police officers as they are confronted with declining property tax revenues.

Oak Creek Town Administrator Mary Alice Page-Allen is expected to make the town's case before the commissioners Tuesday. Some members of the Town Board are hopeful that in an election year with two of the three commissioner seats up for grabs, a direct appeal to the county might result in some help with law enforcement coverage.

Town Trustee Josh Voorhis said during a June 28 Town Board meeting that he felt a memo from Routt County Sheriff Garrett Wiggins lacked specific information about the commissioners' thoughts on helping Oak Creek through its funding challenges.

"Maybe we need to have a meeting directly with the Board of County Commissioners," Voorhis said in June, "and find out truly from the horse's mouth what they have against the town of Oak Creek."

Wiggins did, however, offer two options for billing law enforcement services to Oak Creek when his deputies would respond to emergencies and crimes in progress charged at a little more than $50 an hour.

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Oak Creek's current struggles are playing out against the backdrop of a lengthy history of struggling to keep law enforcement officers employed.

Oak Creek voters rejected a sales tax in November 2011 that would have provided additional funds to help pay for police officers.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

If you go

What: Routt County commissioners meet with Oak Creek Town Administrator Mary Alice Page-Allen to discuss police vacancies

When: 3:30 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Commissioners’ Hearing Room in the Routt County Courthouse, 522 Lincoln Ave. in Steamboat Springs.

Details: Oak Creek officials are struggling with estimated $200,000 cost of employing two police officers.

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