RCPD gets $18 million budget

By Burk Krohe

The Riley County Law Board approved the police department’s budget for 2013 ahead of the city’s budget work session Monday. The budget passed 5-2 with little discussion. City commissioners Wynn Butler and John Matta were the opposing votes.

The board did not discuss numbers Thursday, but previously it considered several options and agreed on a budget 5.7 percent greater than the current $17.127 million budget. The $18.1 million document represents a $984,200 increase from 2012. The budget also includes an increase of $542,700 for part-time, full-time and overtime salaries.

The budget will allow the addition of two new police officers, a civilian public information officer and a civilian CSI lab technician. Additionally, it includes a 1.5-percent cost-of-living adjustment.

Butler and Matta have advocated keeping costs down, especially since the city funds 80 percent of the department. At previous meetings, the two commissioners were particularly concerned about the costs associated with raising salaries and adding new officers.

County Attorney Barry Wilkerson has said public safety is the chief priority of the Law Board and cuts to the budget could result in reducing RCPD’s police force. Wilkerson said that would be irresponsible. However, Matta has argued that the board must make tough decisions.

At the meeting, Mayor Loren Pepperd asked about income and property seized by the department. Peppered asked if it went directly back into the budget. Brad Schoen, RCPD director, said money or seized property sold at public auction eventually comes back to the department but not directly.

The funds go into an asset forfeiture fund, or seizure fund, and by statute cannot go back to the local government or be used to supplant the budget. However, after the funds are put into the fund, the department can allocate them for department purchases. Schoen said typically they’re used for big-ticket items such as crime-scene vehicles and radios, which does keep the budget down somewhat.

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