Law Enforcement Large Piece Of Star Valley Budget

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The Town of Star Valley is looking into contracting for police service through the Gila County Sheriff's Office through an intergovernmental agreement for the upcoming fiscal year. The contract represents the largest piece of the new town's 2006-2007 proposed budget.

From Dec. 1, 2005 to June 30, 2006, the first six months of Star Valley's incorporation, the county funded the town's law enforcement.

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Star Valley plans to contract with the Gila County Sheriff's Office to provide the town's law enforcement. The cost of the contract represents 13 percent of the town's 2006-2007 proposed budget.

In Star Valley's 2006-2007 tentative budget, the town has set aside $112,000 for law enforcement services.

Town Manager Lanny Sloan said the cost is based on the percentage of time a Gila County Sheriff's deputy is actually working in Star Valley.

He said the level of police force in the town for the upcoming fiscal year would not be changing much except for the cost.

"It is the town's responsibility to do it," Sloan said, adding that what services the town will be getting and how much it will cost are factors that need to be known.

The $112,000 price tag for law enforcement represents about 13 percent of the entire budget.

Mayor Chuck Heron said the council needs to have a work session before it decides to do anything with IGAs.

Sloan has put together a package of intergovernmental agreements (IGAs), and the mayor said the council may need to modify them before July 1.

"We have to have some sort of IGA before July 1," Heron said.

The IGA will be discussed at Tuesday's council meeting and revised as necessary, Sloan said.

Last year's Star Valley budget was a little more than $817,000, and Sloan expects that amount to be about the same or less for the upcoming fiscal year budget.

However, he also said this is the first full-year budget for the Town of Star Valley.

Heron said the crime rate in Star Valley is low, adding that when something happens in the town, everyone knows about it.

Heron also said there is nothing to prevent the town in the future from having volunteer marshals around the town, which is what the Payson Police Department is doing.

For the next month, Heron said, police service in the town would remain the same as it has been for years.

He also said the goal for the future is to bring in a town marshal and to help him or her by eventually adding volunteer officers.

He said this would not happen in the immediate future due to the town's lack of funds.

"We have to be very careful in how many paid positions we have," he said. Currently, the Town of Star Valley has two paid positions -- the town manager and city clerk.

Included in the tentative general fund budget, the town anticipates collecting $200,000 in local sales tax revenue.

Sloan also recommends placing $40,000 in capital expenditures and debt for the new town hall as well as $30,000 each for its zoning ordinance and general plan.

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