NOTE: The Suisun City Council is expected to consider the FY 2006-07 budget at its regular June 20 meeting. The council meeting of June 6 was cancelled earlier this year because it is Election Day.
From Daily Republic
By Ian Thompson
SUISUN CITY - Suisun City police could be back on the job around the clock as early as Aug. 31 if they get the two additional officers they sought from the Suisun City Council.
This would cost the city only $15,550 more than it is paying the Solano County Sheriff's Department to have deputies patrol Suisun City's streets during the early morning hours.
The proposal was put forward by Lt. Ed Dadisho as part of a budget workshop where Suisun City Manager Suzanne Bragdon told councilmembers that the proposed budget holds a $492,000 surplus.
"It has been a very good year," Bragdon said of the 2006-07 budget she will formally hand to the council next week.
In January, Bragdon's mid-year budget report stated that city could expect a $300,000 surplus which could be even higher when the books for 2005-06 close at the end of June.
That is a big change from October 2005, when it was predicted that the 2005-06 budget would have a $200,000 deficit. That was when the council approved a $7.8 million general fund budget and $3.1 in reserves.
The proposal to put the police back on around-the-clock coverage is a big turnaround from three years ago when the city council had pondered contracting out all its police services to the sheriff's office.
Suisun City cut back its police coverage three years ago and contracted with the Solano County Sheriff's Department to patrol the city during the early-morning hours.
Suisun City's police have long stated they wanted to take back around-the-clock coverage as soon as they had more police officers on the job and the city was financially stronger.
The department spent the past year hiring officers and staff to fill positions that had been left vacant due to retirements and officers leaving for other departments.
Dadisho also suggested putting more resources into a dedicated anti-gang/drug unit that would hit the streets on a regular basis "instead of when we have the resources."
Councilmembers liked the police department's proposal, with Mayor Jim Spering recommending the police department work on retaining its officers, a problem the department has suffered from in the past.
"We should not move onto any new programs before we deal with the core problems," Spering said.
Councilman Mike Segala asked that the police devote more resources to its services to help the city's youth before they turn to crime.
Dadisho replied that the budget will have more money for a part-time school resource officer.
Councilmembers recommended investing more to repair the docks in the city marina to ensure the docks don't further deteriorate.
The city council is expected to hold a public hearing and vote on the 2006-07 budget on Tuesday.
Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or at email@example.com.