OGDEN – Cities under contract to the Weber County Sheriff’s Office are facing the largest increases in fees they pay for law enforcement protection since at least the 2018-19 fiscal year.
According to Sheriff Ryan Arbon, the larger-than-usual increases are due in part to plans to hire eight more deputies, mainly to help increase patrols in the eight cities, Farr West, Hooper, Huntsville, Marriott-Slaterville , Plain City, Uintah, Washington Terrace and West Haven.
“We felt we needed to increase the number of MPs on the road and that’s where it came from,” Arbon said. Behind the hiring decision, he said, is the increase in population and the increase in crime.
Total billing for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, which runs from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022, collectively amounts to $ 5.02 million for the eight locations, up 17.1% from $ 4.29 million for 2020-2021. The $ 4.29 million reflects a 9.1% increase in billing over the previous year’s total of $ 3.93 million, which is a 4.9% increase from 3, $ 75 million in 2018-2019. The 2018-19 figure was only a 0.4% increase from $ 3.74 million in 2017-18.
Notwithstanding the larger increase for 2021-2022, Arbon says the coverage provided by the sheriff’s office is still cheaper than what cities would pay if they had their own police departments. Having a larger department allows economies of scale in the operations of the sheriff’s office and allows it to offer more specialized investigative services. “It’s a lot cheaper and you get more services and you have a lot more resources,” Arbon said.
And despite the increase, the towns under contract are supporting the sheriff’s office, he said, which employs around 380 people in total, including correctional officers who work in the county jail. The Sheriff’s Office also provides law enforcement in the unincorporated Weber County, while other towns in Weber County, including Ogden, Roy, North Ogden and South Ogden, have their own police departments.
“I have the impression that the (contractual) cities support us 100%. I know they support us and they support law enforcement, ”said Arbon. “When we told them we needed more officers, they supported us.”
While plans to hire the eight officers until next January may be the main factor behind the increase in billing amounts, the sheriff’s office faces financial pressures elsewhere. Among other things, Members of Parliament face increased training requirements, and responding to domestic violence calls, in particular, is increasingly complicated, requiring more time and money.
“A REAL JUMP FOR US”
The fast-growing West Haven pays by far most cities under contract, and Sharon Bolos, the mayor, understands the logic behind the jump to 2021-2022. West Haven will pay $ 1.58 million for law enforcement protection in 2021-22, up from $ 1.31 million in 2020-21, a 20.5% increase.
“It’s a really big jump for us. But our city is growing and we have more people and more calls, ”Bolos said. The 2021-2022 fees represent a 57.7% increase over the $ 1 million paid by West Haven in 2017-18.
West Haven officials have had ad hoc discussions throughout the year about creating a police department to serve the city, and West Haven City Council last month decided to hire a consultant to further investigate the matter. question. The consultant is responsible for determining the pros and cons of staying in the sheriff’s office, creating a new police department, or even creating a police district with other cities.
Like Bolos, Washington Terrace City manager Tom Hanson also understands the reason for the increase in the sheriff’s office bill. Washington Terrace will pay $ 1.02 million for police protection in 2021-22, the second highest amount of cities under contract. This is an increase from $ 870,021 in 2020-21, a jump of 16.7%.
“It’s kind of one of those things, it’s what it is,” said Hanson. The increase is in a proposed tax hike in the city which is at the center of a public hearing on Aug. 3.
Washington Terrace had its own police department several years ago, but moved to the sheriff’s office to protect itself in part because of the cost. Indeed, Hanson estimates that the city would pay between $ 1.5 million and $ 1.6 million a year to maintain a police department, if it still had one.
“They are a very good team, a very, very good partner for the city,” said Hanson, referring to the deputies in the sheriff’s office who police Washington Terrace. “We feel like we’re getting good value for money with the sheriff.”
If Hanson has a complaint, it’s about the change in the way sheriff’s office fees are determined for each city. The sheriff’s office used a formula that based 50% of the charges on the population of a city and 50% on the volume of calls received by a community. For 2021-2022, city leaders narrowly voted to change the weighting, basing themselves on 40% on a city’s population and 60% on call volume.
“It was a little disappointing for Washington Terrace because we recognize that crime has no borders,” Hanson said.
Call volume can have a huge impact on costs. Washington Terrace and Hooper are of comparable size, with estimated populations of 9,248 and 9,152, respectively, in 2019, according to US Census Bureau estimates. But because Washington Terrace is getting more calls, it will pay a lot more for police protection, $ 1.02 million in 2021-2022 versus $ 672,795 for Hooper.
Here are the billing amounts for the eight Sheriff’s Office contract cities for 2021-2022:
West Haven: $ 1.58 million, up 20.5% from $ 1.31 million in 2020-21.
Washington Terrace: $ 1.02 million, up 16.7% from $ 870,021 in 2020-21.
Hooper: $ 672,795, up 13.9% from $ 590,732 in 2020-2021.
Farr West: $ 644,651, up 15.2% from 559,825 in 2020-2021.
Plain city: $ 565,274, up 18.8% from $ 475,761 in 2020-2021.
Marriott-Slaterville: $ 322,935, up 12.5% from $ 287,113 in 2020-2021.
Uintah: $ 146,405, up 12.2% from $ 130,518 in 2020-2021.
Huntsville: $ 72,844, up 14.6% from $ 63,575 in 2020-2021.