VIEWPOINT: Committee members urge action on new police station
We are volunteer members on the last two police station advisory committees. Our committees were brought together to propose a location and budget for a replacement station for our Claremont Police Department. It is time for us to speak out.
A contributor on the social media platform NextDoor asked “Why can’t someone clearly communicate the issues relating to lack of retention” in our police department?
We think the following is clear. The problems are: 1) the threat of disbanding the police force and replacing them with the sheriff’s, 2) repeated failure of bonds to replace the current police station, and 3) almost two years of stalemate in getting a new contract for the officers.
Our community has answered the first problem. After reading the overwhelming support for our police officers in 411 letters to the city council, plus hearing a record-breaking line of public comment at their meeting on February 11, our city council voted unanimously to keep our highly respected and professional police force.
Therefore, we obviously need a station for our police. The problem with any further delay in building a decent station has become clear.
Many of our police officers are actively applying to other places to work, and are planning to leave. They are giving up on Claremont as a long term place to work.
Police departments around us are understaffed and are running up large amounts of overtime. Therefore, they are actively seeking officers to transfer from other jurisdictions, so they can avoid the long delay and cost of training an inexperienced recruit.
We are in a bidding war for officers, and the prospect of further delay in having a decent station would drive even more officers away.
We urge the city council to put a measure on the ballot to fund a police station with the $17.5 million budget presented to them by our last Police Station Citizens Advisory Committee on July 23, 2019.
This proposal is less expensive, and it has an even-handed financing method based on the square footage of improvements on every property in Claremont. To be clear, this method requires the nonprofit colleges to contribute 12.3 percent of the cost as well.
The cost to all property owners for a $17.5 million bond would be 2.93 cents per square foot. This means that an owner of a 1,500 square foot home would pay $44 per year, and the owner of a 2,500 square foot home would pay $73 per year.
This plan is very frugal, it would be fairly financed, and we voters can afford it. We believe that our Claremont residents now understand the need and urgency, and will vote 67 percent in favor!
Jim Keith, Frank Bedoya, Jack Blair Richard Chute, Betty Crocker
Helaine Goldwater, Marci Horowitz, Katharine Rosacker, Joyce Sauter Jess Swick, Paul Wheeler