Sunnyside pays East Carbon for law enforcement services
A compromise worked out last summer for the city's police force to cover Sunnyside has been a topic of discussion at the East Carbon council meetings.
The discussion centered around the fact East Carbon had not received any funding from Sunnyside or the county since the agreement was hammered out. But last Thursday, the situation changed.
"We actually received payment on the service yesterday," said East Carbon Mayor Dale Andrews in a telephone interview. "I think the delay had to do with the dispersal of tax payments to the town and, when Sunnyside got theirs, they paid us."
However, Andrewspointed out that the payment received was only through October.
"I'm not sure what they are planning to do to bring it up to date," said the mayor.
Andrews also told the Sun Advocate that the county's check for their part of the payment had not arrived yet.
But according to County Commissioner Mike Milovich, that is only because the county cuts and issues checks once a week.
"We received the invoice last week after the cut off for that weeks checks," said the commissioner. "I'm sure that check is being cut today (Wednesday) and is being mailed today or tomorrow."
The situation that has arisen concerning the coverage of the two communities by the larger entity's police force began almost two years ago when East Carbon determined the cost of providing police protection to Sunnyside was much more than they had been charging. Consequently East Carbon sent the Sunnyside City Council a letter asking for a substantial increase in the contract they had with one another.
Sunnyside officials felt the requested funds were high enough that they decided that on July 1, 2003 they would man their own police force. Unfortunately, there was limited money to do so and after buying a vehicle for the force they only had enough money to run eight hours of protection out of 24 hours needed per day. Consequently when Sunnyside police were not available emergency calls fell to the Carbon County Sheriff's office or to East Carbon police once again.
But that wasn't the only involvement the county had. For years the county had been reimbursing East Carbon for using it's police presence to monitor and handle problems in the east county area. That made for a sticky situation for the county since it now had two police agencies in the area with which to deal. So the county stopped paying anyone until they felt they could get a resolution on the situation. That meant less funds for East Carbon to operate their police force.
Finally after less than a year of operating their own police force, Sunnyside, East Carbon and the county got together and worked out a solution. Recently East Carbon hired and sent to training a new police officer to help with the coverage in the two towns and in the county areas as needed. He began actually working in the area a little over a week ago.
The East Carbon City Council also discussed in their Dec. 14 meeting the need to look for another police vehicle, and East Carbon is considering the one that Sunnyside has for sale.
"A new vehicle for the police force would cost $28,800," said Andrews during the meeting. "Our present police vehicles have a lot of miles on them and one is about at its life's end. The vehicle Sunnyside owns has fairly low mileage. They are asking $14,500 for it."
At the time he brought the issue up many of the council members weren't too positive about the purchase because of the police payment problem. What might change now that the payment situation has been resolved remains to be seen.