The Hemet City Council adopted a resolution authorizing the deputy city manager of administrative services director to adjust the 2016-17 revenue budget by adding $2,239,243 in revenues expected to come in from the new Measure U sales tax to be used by the police and fire departments.
The resolution approval followed the presentation of “Measure U Immediate Action Plans” by Hemet Police Chief Dave Brown and Hemet Fire Chief Scott Brown during the Dec. 13 regular Hemet City Council meeting. The chiefs reviewed their plans for recruiting additional police officers, firefighters, dispatchers, uniforms, safety equipment, major machinery and equipment, training and education and professional/specialized services within the next six months.
Police Chief Brown earlier said the added revenue for the public safety departments through Measure U passed by the voters Nov. 8 would “put more boots on the ground” to reduce rising crime and improve emergency response times in city.
The council earlier in their meeting packets received a cost breakdown of the personal and equipment needed to improve Hemet’s badly needed fire and police protection that was seen as “at risk” by a recent state audit. The $2.39 million needed was split between the police and fire departments with cost centers for each.
The resolution approval wasn’t without some serious questioning by Councilman Paul Raver about how the budget presentation was made and how the resolution was to be worded. The former Mayor Pro Tem, according to a news release from the City Manager’s office, officially resigned from his seat on the council Dec. 13, the same evening as the council meeting. While his handwritten resignation letter gave no reason for the decision, the councilman has sent in resignation letters in the past, but rescinded them and remained on the council.
This time “It is official,” said City Manager Alexander Meyerhoff.
Raver listened to the chiefs’ presentations and at the conclusion said there should be separate account budgeted for each department and asked if the accounts had been separated in the proposals and shown in the resolution. The accounts were separated into two different cost centers in the proposals, explained Deputy City Manager Jessica Hurst, but would still came from one revenue source, Measure U.
Raver noted that the proposed resolution did not specify the accounts item for item and said, “this is not acceptable.” The City Manager held up a sheet with the cost breakdown for each of the requested items by both departments that was included in the resolution packet to the council.
The breakdown shown on page 411 in the Dec. 13 City Council Agenda packet shows the police department asking for $1,492,814 in revenue from the anticipated Measure U funds for January through June 2017 and the fire department asking for $746,429 for the same period.
Raver ask the specific breakdown of expenditure asked by the departments be inserted into to resolution itself before he would grant is “yes” vote. Hurst said the addendum to the original resolution could be made and the rest of the council agreed. He then asked the new oversight committee, yet to be appointed, should have an opportunity to look it over as well. Meyerhoff said the oversight committee would have that opportunity.
The resolution with the amendment was finally approved late in the evening by a 5-0 vote from the reorganized city council.
What are the two departments looking for in the first six months and the estimated costs, as shown in the Measure U Expenditure Plan and an Anticipated Revenue is shown below.
Personnel: 4 police officers, lateral ($253,054); 4 police officers, entry level ($232,358); 2 community service officers ($65,298); 1 Special Enforcement Bureau lieutenant ($119,612); 1 communications/technology manager $55,000); 1 confidential office specialist ($34,347); and 4 P/T police cadets with 20 hours per week ($31,652).
Professional/Specialized services: Quality of Life Prosecution Unit with the city prosecutor ($50,000); recruiting, marketing and professional human resources services ($25,000).
Training and education: Gang drug enforcement ($10,000); Homeless, vagrancy legal issues ($10,000).
Uniforms and safety equipment: Safety and communications equipment ($156,493).
Major machinery and equipment: Enforcement vehicles ($440,000).
Costs to be repaid from $1,492,814 in expected Measure U revenues (collection of 1 cent sales tax begins April 1, 2017).
Personnel: 3 fire captains ($231,287); 2 peak demand firefighters ($121,604); 2 dispatchers ($84,211); part time to full time Emergency Service Coordinator ($31,621); and a part time 20-hour week Office Specialist ($16,267).
Professional/Specialized services: Emergency Medical Service Coordinator adding 96 hours a month ($10,000) and recruiting and marketing human resources professional services ($25,000).
Uniforms and Safety/ALS training equipment: Full personal protective equipment ($10,000); NFPA compliant uniforms ($6,000); Motorola portable radios PSEAC ($75,000); Command vehicle (72,000); Communications, command box ($30,000); Adult ALS Full Body Trainer ($4,000); and Pediatric ALS Full Body Trainer ($2,000).
Costs to be repaid from $746,429 in expected Measure U revenues.
The City Council is scheduled to meet again on Jan. 10, 2017 to begin the process of appointing an oversight committee that will monitor all revenues and expenditures coming from Measure U funding and to assure it will be spent only for its intended purpose in the Hemet Police and Fire Departments.