Redmond council to discuss public safety fee options

City says community supports additional officers

Council to discuss public safety fee

REDMOND, Ore. - Several town halls and months of public outreach will lead to what’s expected to be a very rich discussion for Redmond City councilors Tuesday evening. They’ll once again be tackling the proposed public safety fee. 

Councilors will weigh in on several different options, and hear results of months of outreach. 

“The council is really going to dig into this," City Manager Keith Witcosky said Monday. "And we’re going to give them the information to dig into it, and then they can give us some direction on where they want us to go next.”

The proposed public safety fee is $6 a month added to utility bills, funding the hiring of six more police officers. 

“The Redmond Police Department in 2017 responded to over 23,000 calls for service, slightly more than the 2016 number,” Lt. Curtis Chambers said Monday. 

Chambers said 700 calls a year per officer is manageable. Right now, they’re each responding to more than 900. Outreach shows the vast majority of people see the need for more officers, and most support the fee. 

“The most important thing is people realize we’re listening to them," Witcosky said. "We didn’t come into this with a preconceived notion of what we’re going to do.” 

Seven options will be presented Tuesday:

Alternative A: Approve a fee by vote of City Council

Alternative B: Refer a fee, as an advisory opinion, to the ballot in May 2018

Alternative C: Seek a voter-approved temporary operating levy in May 2018

Alternative D: Seek a voter-approved increase to Redmond’s permanent rate in May 2018

Alternative E: Prioritize public safety as part of the development of the 2018/19 budget

Alternative F: Continue the initiative and public awareness efforts and target a public vote in Nov. 2018, 2019 or 2020

Alternative G: Maintain status quo; take no action

“The community has embraced understanding our need," Chambers said. "The mechanism for paying for additional officers is always one that needs to be thought out, discussed and implemented in a way which is fair for everyone.”

City councilors could choose to pursue several, some or none of the options presented. The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, located at 411 SW 9th Street. 

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