4 Options On Table For Star Valley Police


The Town of Star Valley is still hoping that an agreement can be reached with Payson for law enforcement services.

After the Payson Town Council rejected a proposal April 5 that would have provided police services to Star Valley for $210,000, the two towns met and came up with four options.

The Payson Town Council will consider the four options next Thursday.

In order to continue providing law enforcement to Star Valley, the Payson Police Department must hire new officers and purchase vehicles for them. According to the four options drafted between the two towns, Payson and Star Valley will split some of that cost because the new hires will benefit both towns. The hiring is necessary because the current police budget is straining under large amounts of overtime.

The four options include not providing law enforcement to Star Valley or providing services at three rates based on how many officers are hired -- four new officers will cost Star Valley $564,000, hiring three officers will cost $388,000 and two additional officers and vehicles will cost $258,000. The latter is the option Star Valley can afford.

Star Valley Town Manager Vito Tedeschi said the Payson Town Council wanted assurances that Star Valley would be paying for all of the services for law enforcement.

Star Valley, Tedeschi said, has discussed bumping up the $210,000 offered to Payson earlier this month to $258,000, to offset any subsidiary. But he believes there is no subsidiary.

"We only pay for the level of service they provide, so how can it be a subsidy?" he asked.

Payson also has agreed to implement an overrun for accidents in the community, for which the town would pay the difference after 100 man-hours from the Payson Police Department.

The extra $40,000 to $50,000 Star Valley would need to raise would come from the Tonto Apache Tribe.

Tedeschi said the amount Star Valley can pay for police service is the amount it receives from its vehicle license tax.

If an agreement cannot be reached between Payson and Star Valley for law enforcement, discussions are also ongoing with the Gila County Sheriff's Office.

GCSO's first proposal to Star Valley was a contract for $361,000. The town asked for another proposal.

"We contracted the GCSO for a lower level of service, so they are working with that," Tedeschi said, adding his council directed him to get the best available police service for Star Valley.

He said the original offer from Police Chief Gordon Gartner called for four full-time officers who would have worked around the clock in Star Valley, but the cost of more than $500,000 a year was too expensive.

Tedeschi said the town does not need that type of law enforcement.

"What we are looking for is an on-call response," he said, adding the two additional officers would work both communities.

"It's a good deal for Payson, too," he said.

Tedeschi said he prefers to use the Payson Police Department, partially because the PPD has been working there for more than nine months and are getting to know the area.

Tedeschi said he met with Payson Town Manager Fred Carpenter and Police Commander Don Engler Monday to discuss the details of the four options that will be presented to the Payson Town Council.

Tedeschi said there is the one option the town prefers, but has no idea what the Payson Town Council is thinking.

"We appreciate them working with us on this," he said.

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