New Richmond resident concerned about police department

By Jordan Puckett
Sun staff

“I am very concerned about discussions about eliminating our police department,” New Richmond resident Mary Allen told council during the July 23 meeting.

“I think that without police presence, we are going to be very vulnerable,” Allen said, “and I do not believe we will get the same service from any other agency outside the village.”

The New Richmond Police Department has been regularly spending more money than it receives in police levies. A committee was recently formed by village council to request police services from other municipalities.

Council member Paul Vanderbosch asked Allen if she had any suggestions of how the village could save enough money to keep the police department.

Allen is a member of the New Richmond Financial Risk Task Force. She said she would like to reinvigorate the group to come together to think of ways to save the police department. She said eliminating the police department “should not be at the top of the list” to cut costs.

According to council member Rick Hilt, the task force has helped the village save 25 percent of the electric bill, helped cut the cost of pothole repair, and volunteered performing tasks for which the village would otherwise have to pay, among other cost saving actions.

“I think [the task force] should have a formal meeting every month and have a formal touch point with council,” Allen said. “How much money we could raise, I don’t know, but we did have a group of citizens who were very interested [in cutting village costs].”

The council committee is requests that all proposals for services be submitted by August 31 and that, if any proposals meet the approval of council, the village enter into an agreement with one of the agencies by October 31, with an effective date of January 1, 2014.

The next village council meeting is 7 p.m. August 13 in the village municipal building.