REDMOND, OR -- Redmond’s Budget committee has approved a $46 million budget for the next year, and it includes four more police officers and an evidence tech. City Manager Keith Witcosky says the group was initially asked by the City Council to find room in the 2018-19 budget to hire three additional officers. Then, the committee met for a rare third time, "We came up with basically a $1.3 million list of needs. We said, ‘of these needs, is there anything you want to change in the proposed budget?’ And that’s what led to somebody saying, ‘can we afford that fourth officer?’ And, we can."
Witcosky says there will be sacrifices to pay for the increased police staffing, "We’re not having to make budget cuts to make this work; we’re just not able to kind of staff and invest in some of these services at the levels that they need. So, what gave was Parks." Redmond’s Parks budget will remain flat. Witcosky says that means that department will not have enough money for needed maintenance and staffing increases.
The budget was approved by the committee this week; City Council is expected to adopt it at their June 12 meeting. Witcosky says the city is still looking at how to raise revenue needed to properly fund Parks and get the police department to full staffing, which would require four more officers. He tells KBND News the Budget Committee had an idea, "They said, ‘we want to increase the permanent tax rate by 64-cents and give the citizens of Redmond a chance to vote on that, and that will help us get to the current service levels that are required’." He adds, "The average sale price of a house in Redmond is about $290,000. For that house, it’s about $130 a year to have your parks improved, to get your parks maintained and to get a police department staffed at a level we need, given the demands the community is placing on them." A permanent tax rate increase must be approved by voters. Witcosky says City Council will have to decide by late August whether to send the request to the November ballot.