Payson Won't Subsidize Sv Police

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Star Valley will not be using the Payson Police Department for its law enforcement next year -- at least not at the discounted rate the small community proposed.

The Payson Town Council, by a 4-2 vote, rejected providing police service to Star Valley for $258,000. Mayor Bob Edwards and Councilor Ed Blair voted in favor of the service. Council member Andy Romance was not at the meeting.

Payson Police Commander Don Engler presented four options to the Payson Town Council Thursday night.

Engler said Payson could choose not to provide law enforcement to Star Valley or the town could choose one of three rates, figured by the number of extra officers that needed to be hired to cover a second town.

For full coverage, which requires an additional four officers, Star Valley would pay $564,000, Engler said. The towns could compromise, hire three officers and the total bill to Star Valley would be $388,000. The Star Valley Town Council proposed paying what it can afford -- $258,000 -- which would allow Payson to hire two additional officers.

The latter two options had a protection clause that allowed the Payson Police Department to charge an additional $45 per hour after 100 man-hours were worked on any one incident.

The Payson Council last year agreed to provide law enforcement to Star Valley for one year at a cost of $100,000. That contract expires July 1.

Engler said the option that would have charged Star Valley $258,000 for two officers and two vehicles was the one the small community could afford.

Blair said the PPD should be able to provide service on priority one calls if Option 4 (the $258,000 cost) was approved.

Edwards said it was clear to him that Option 4 was the only one Star Valley could afford.

Council member John Wilson wanted to know if Payson would be subsidizing police service to Star Valley at the $258,000 cost.

Engler conceded that Payson would be substantially subsidizing police service to Star Valley for this amount.

He added that the PPD could probably make some adjustments where Star Valley could receive law enforcement from them, but not at the same level of Payson residents.

Edwards expressed concern that the council was balking at approving Option 4, mentioning the issue of paying for dispatch and record keeping had been worked out since the April 5 meeting.

"The figure keeps moving, and that bothers me," he said. "They cannot afford Cadillac service. Obviously they are not going to get the services we get."

Resident Robert Henley said the PPD, if providing service to Star Valley, should provide the same coverage to both communities. He asked the council to consider the first two options -- no service or the $564,000 figure.

Edwards said Star Valley could not afford that, so it would be appropriate to give them basic police service.

"We are only going to give them what they need," he said.

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