FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. What is a Public Safety fee?
A Police Public Safety fee is a monthly fee charged to each ‘developed’ property in Redmond (residential, commercial, industrial). The fee will be entirely dedicated to hiring police officers in the City of Redmond. For every $1/month fee the City will be able to hire one full-time patrol officer.
2. Why is a Public Safety fee needed?
The City currently has 38 sworn police officers. Staffing has not kept pace with the industry recommended standard of 46 officers for a city of our size (around 28,000). To put in context, our officers respond to +/- 23,000 calls for service each year. This is a very large volume, given the size of the Police Department.
3. How will the Community benefit from additional police officers?
For sake of assumption, if the City Council approved a $6.00 per month fee, six more officers could be hired. There are six benefits the City believes can be delivered to the community from this investment:
• A 38% increase in the number of sworn officers. This will boost the average patrol team size from 3.2 officers per shift to 4.4.
• The establishment of a dedicated two-person a drug enforcement unit. This will increase the officer hours dedicated to dealing with drug related crimes from 508 hours to 3,708. That’s a 630% increase.
• This will also lead to an increase in the annual number of complex drug related operations from 5 to 32.
• A direct benefit to larger patrol teams is the ability to crack down on traffic safety and speeding. This includes greater attention to high accident intersections, school zones, and other areas where people overlook the speed limit and traffic laws. Police project a 3% decrease in traffic accidents from this work.
• The initiation of a foot patrol where officers can walk their beat in certain areas of the city. This will be particularly prevalent in the parks, neighborhoods, and downtown.
• The 6th benefit will be the ability for the police department to investigate and solve crime quicker. More officers will decrease the average calls handled per officer (currently 938+ calls are taken each year per officer) allowing them more time to follow up on criminal investigations.
4. What level fee is being recommended at this time?
The Public Safety fee currently being discussed by the City is $6.00 per month.
• $6.00 per month = $72 annually.
• Discounted rates are available for qualifying low-income families and/or senior citizen hardship applicants.
5. How much revenue will the fee generate?
The fee is estimated to generate approximately $864,000 per year and may ONLY be used to pay for police related services.
6. Aren’t there Federal Grants available to hire police officers?
No, there are no federal grants that can be used to hire permanent positions. We do use federal and state grants to purchase equipment and to pay for overtime for specific enforcement missions such as DUII patrols.
7. Will the fee go up in the future?
There is no automatic increase to the fee. In order to change the amount, the City Council would need to take an action authorizing the change.
8. Why is the fee on my water bill?
The typical City utility bill includes charges for garbage, water, sewer, and stormwater. By putting charges for multiple services on ONE bill, the City is able to reduce the administrative costs of processing, printing and mailing over what it would cost to have each charge on a separate bill.
9. Do you offer any low income or senior discounts?
• A Senior Citizen Hardship Assistance program is available to senior citizens who apply and can demonstrate one or more of the following criteria:
1. Unusually high medical expenses
2. Housing costs, which are greater than 30% of your income
3. Child care expense to permit employment
4. Disaster of casualty losses
• Low‐income Assistance: Responsible party shows proof that household income is equal to or less than 30% of Area median income, based upon family size, as published annually by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
• You must apply. Applications are available on the City of Redmond website at www.ci.redmond.or.us. Applications can also be picked up at City Hall or mailed to you upon request.
- Consistent with the City’s practice with monthly Sewer and Stormwater fees, Mult-family units will receive a 22% discount on the Public Safety Fee, which would lower the monthly fee to $4.68 (assuming the fee is $6).
10. What will happen if I don’t pay these fees?
• A $5.00 delinquency fee and 1.5% of the balance administrative fee will be placed on your City Services account if the fees are not paid by the end of the due date month.
11. Why is City Council not putting this out to a vote of the people?
The City Council was elected to maintain the welfare of the City; and from a governance perspective, public safety is one of the core responsibilities of City Government. Council takes that responsibility and the authority vested in them very seriously.
In practice, this means that individual councils can determine what they need to do to ensure “…the peace, order and good governance…” of their municipalities. Essentially each council makes its own decisions based on its collective beliefs, the advice it receives, various financial considerations, legislative powers and so on.
12. Why now/why didn’t you fix this problem sooner?
Redmond’s population and growth continues to outpace the City’s ability to keep up with services, particularly public safety. We currently have a population of around 28,500 and our sworn officer count is 38, 8 officers less than the recommended number for our city’s size.
Back in 2009 our population was around 25,000 and we had 37 officers. One challenge we are faced with is a $450,000 annual loss of revenue due to property taxes NOT growing by 3% during the recession. Our population is projected to grow to 40,000 by 2035 and 65,000 by 2065. This is approximately 650 people per year.
13. We are not alone – 11 cities in Oregon have approved a Public Safety fee.
The average approved Public Safety fee is $5 a month.
Have additional questions? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org