Town, county sign 5-year police contract
Dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s, town councilmembers ironed out the details of a five-year law enforcement contract with the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office.
During last week’s regular council meeting, Town Manager Steve Wright said officials on both sides of the bargaining table have been able to negotiate a contract lasting more than one year.
The new contract will strengthen the town’s fiscal position and could boost sheriff deputy morale, he added.
“This is the first time when there has been a full-scale upgrade of the entire document and we are glad to see it happen,” Wright said.
“It will provide us with fiscal stability, and it will provide law enforcement in Truckee with some stability because (they) never knew from year to year if they were going to be county sheriffs or whether they were going to be looking for a job if the town wanted to create its own police department.”
Town councilmembers budgeted $1.93 million for law enforcement this year, and Wright said that cost for service will be amended annually as operational costs change. The basic provisions of the agreement, however, will remain the same.
Also, the contract contains a termination clause wherein NCSO or the town can discontinue service by providing a written notice at least 12 months in advance.
Town officials began exploring a long-term law enforcement contract in 1995 after the consulting firm of Ralph Anderson and Associates was commissioned to study the benefits of contracting with NCSO vs. establishing a Truckee police department.
“That study came back and said the costs were relatively equal,” Wright said, adding the difference lied in start-up costs and capital equipment expenditures for a police department.
Since that time, the town councilmembers have been pushing for the long-term contract goal. Wright said the new contract resolves several significant issues, including insurance and booking fee questions.
One issue that county and town officials could not resolve, however, centered on Prop. 172 fees – taxes paid by town residents earmarked by the state as law enforcement related. The town contends it should be responsible for those funds, but the county disagrees, Wright said.
“We will deal with those in a different form, they are not part of this agreement,” he said.
Nevada County Supervisors unanimously adopted the contract Aug. 5.
“This is the single most expensive responsibility of the town whether we do it ourselves or through a contract,” Truckee Mayor Bob Drake said. “This council believes that this is the best economical solution for the residents and for the sheriff to provide service to the area.”
“I think this can be viewed as a win-win,” Councilman Don McCormack said, adding town staff and the sheriff’s department should be commended for their effort in finalizing the contract.
Wright said the contract also provides for a computer-aided dispatch center, which will be created in a side agreement with the Truckee Fire Protection District. The dispatch option proposes costs being based on the number of calls, with the town and TFD each paying a pro rated portion.
The side agreement has been drafted and should come before the council within 30 days, Wright said.
In the meantime, town staff is continuing talks with the county on the Prop. 172 fees.
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