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Officer spots to remain unfilled

City leaders don’t expect noticeable changes in police service despite plans to leave vacant two officer positions in the upcoming budget year.

As part of the city’s proposed $12.1 million budget released Thursday, the officer positions, along with one dispatcher spot and one public works position, will remain open.

The city budget calls for 21 officer positions but as of May only 19 were filled.



“I don’t believe our level of service will be compromised,” Chief John Foster said.

If concerns about response times or a severe crime outbreak occurred, the City Council could fill the positions temporarily or with full-time officers, said Mayor Mark Johnson.




The City Council won’t let a problem occur due to police staffing, Johnson said.

Like Foster, Johnson didn’t envision a problem because of the 2007-08 budget plan.

“We may end up having two vacancies anyway” because of the hiring situation, Foster said.

The vacancies typically attract entry-level officers needing six months of police academy and subsequently, six months of field training, Foster said. Now, only one person who is going through background screening for a vacant officer position which will be filled could be ready for the academy and field training beginning in July, he said.

This year’s proposed $12.1 million budget represents a $1.5 million increase from the previous year. It is a balanced budget with revenues projected at $12.2 million.

No new programs are outlined in Interim City Administrator Jeff Foltz’s budget proposal but he did outline several concerns including:

• Enterprise accounts such as the city’s sewer water fund are underfunded because the rate structure doesn’t reflect true costs.

• The local housing market is “all but flat.” Only 52 homes were built the last calendar year.

• Because of budget transfers covering the ongoing Newmont Mining Corp. lawsuit and salary and benefit increases, the city’s beginning fund balance has been reduced to $1.9 million.

• The city has millions of dollars in deferred maintenance involving roads, storm drains, sewer plant, and parks.

Budget hearings are scheduled for 7 p.m., June 12, in the City Council chambers at Grass Valley City Hall, 125 E. Main St.

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To contact Staff Writer Greg Moberly, e-mail gregm@theunion.com or call 477-4234.


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