Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
City costs for law enforcement down as Riverside foots bill
WASHINGTON — As Washington County communities prepare their budgets for next fiscal year, many have large sums dedicated to contracts with the county for law enforcement coverage. This budget season, however, officials expect that bill to go down slightly in most cities.
Those officials say the city of Riverside plans to allocate an extra $70,000 to its typical share of expenses, derived from a formula based on local property valuations and population counts. Municipal officials said they understood the city had a disproportionate impact on police resources, thanks to the Riverside Casino.
“The thought was that we would increase our annual contract by about $70,000 due to the needs of the casino, and the fact that our casino agreement over the last couple of years has provided some additional funding to us,” Riverside Mayor Allen Schneider said at a meeting in January. “I think it was 240 calls for service in fiscal year ‘21 and 259 in fiscal year ‘22.”
At a Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday, Washington County decision-makers authorized the amounts proposed for next fiscal year’s contracts. Those numbers now go to their respective city councils for approval.
Sheriff Jared Schneider said every other city’s price would decrease thanks to Riverside’s expected payment, which would bring that city’s annual expense above $220,000. The change puts them back on track with projected costs when the area started pitching law enforcement contracts.
"Costs change, but with that extra $70,000 it actually brings other communities down to where our projections were at, so that’s a good thing,“ he said.
In another change from previous contracts, the fiscal year 2024 formula uses four-year average property valuations, rather than just the current years’ numbers. Jared Schneider said the change would minimize the impact of changes in state law, such as the recent statewide adjustment to residential property tax valuations.
The amounts proposed to each city for law enforcement coverage are:
- Ainsworth: $31,676
- Brighton: $41,197
- Crawfordsville: $15,620
- Kalona: $239,417
- Riverside: $220,401
- Wellman: $115,967
- West Chester: $10,334